Today, almost every Internet user has social media accounts on Facebook or Twitter. Most of you very likely have published at least one “check-in” from a hotel or concert hall. Well, we are not going to explain how sharing your location on social networks may be unsafe, because we realize that this is an ordinary human need to be socially active in the online world. Everyone wants to be a star, and social networks perfectly meet this need. On Facebook, each user is a “celebrity” to its followers and friends.
But there is another very ancient and very strong human need – privacy.
What is Internet Privacy?
Earlier, when we were sending paper letters and shopping in physical stores with cash, we could control our private information. But today when all these actions are online, we are no longer responsible for our private data and how they are used. In short, there is no privacy on the Internet.
Different organizations monitor and save our behavior on the Internet. They track our actions, interests, habits, and location. They know our IP addresses, what we are looking for on the Internet, what products we buy, and so on. And what is most important, everything these organizations do is 100% legal, so you can’t complain about that. Still, maintaining your privacy on the World Wide Web is a real task and we’ve compiled a list of tips on how to protect your Internet privacy.
Internet Privacy Protection Tips
Use Secure Passwords
It is important to use a unique password for each account. Also, you should avoid using simple phrases or words as a password. Learn more about how to create a secure password.
Check the Web Address
As you have probably noticed, some site addresses start with HTTPS, others – with HTTP. The Https means that the connection between your browser and the website you visit is encrypted. With encryption, it is much more difficult for any attacker to access your personal data. Also, you can add the extension “HTTPS Everywhere” to your browser (Firefox, Chrome, Opera) and it will automatically switch any site to https if the site supports this option.
Stop Allowing Google to Collect Your Data
When you are looking for some information in the Chrome browser, Google keeps track of all your activities. Actions on the Internet and mobile applications, which include the history of search queries and activity in maps, are enabled by default on the iPhone and Android-devices. If you want to stop sharing all your data with Google, you’ll have to go to the settings.
- Go to “Google Account”, then select “Manage your Google activity” in the “Personal Info & privacy” section.
- Then choose “Go to Activity Controls.” Here you can see all types of data tracked by Google. Turn off Web & App Activity, using the slider button.
If you want to delete your web history, you need to follow these steps:
- Go to the “My Activity” section and select “Delete Activity By”.
- Choose the period of time and type of search from the drop-down menu and click on Delete.
As is the case with the history of web searches and applications, you have the option to turn off the location history and voice recording.
Do not Forget About Privacy on Your Mobile Devices
Some people think that privacy threats exist only on computers. This is not true. In fact, privacy is also at risk on your phone. Since we always carry the phone with us and it tracks our location, companies can collect much data about us.
Regularly Clear Cookies
Use the Web Version of Facebook Instead of the Mobile Application
If you install Facebook on your phone, you provide the social network with more tracking capabilities. If you need access to Facebook from a mobile device, it’s better to log into your account through a browser. This way, the app will not be able to track your location and other data.
Read What the Application is Requesting Access To
When you download any application to your smartphone and open it, it usually asks you to give certain permissions. You should pay attention to these conditions because the application can request access to your camera or microphone.
If it is possible, avoid using public Wi-Fi
Public Wi-Fi is very convenient, but it can also damage your privacy. And here are some of the reasons why:
- Possible attacks. Someone can access the connection between your computer and the website. This allows an outsider to view your activity without your knowledge or permission.
- Unencrypted network. This means that everyone with access to the network will be able to see what is being transferred between your computer and the network.
- Malware distribution – since everyone can access these networks, hackers can use public Wi-Fi to install a malicious program on your computer, and you will not even notice it.
- Sniffing – hackers use devices and software that enable the interception of wifi signals. This allows them to access your passwords and other information that you enter on the page.
Use Private Search Engines
Instead of Google, there are some confidential search engines which do not collect information about you or your search history. The most popular are:
- Search Encrypt
Update apps and operating systems regularly
Updates often include fixing bugs and improving security, so you should download them as often as it is necessary. Constantly updating the device and software will better protect your privacy.
Be careful with devices connected to the Internet
A lot of devices like Amazon Echo, Google Home and Apple HomePod are now popular technologies. However, when people buy these devices and bring them home, they do not understand how much of their data they transmit to technology companies.
Use a TOR Browser
The Tor browser is one of the most famous and popular ways to preserve anonymity on the Internet. It is interesting that it is positioned as the main “tool for bypassing Internet censorship.” Not surprisingly, Tor is extremely popular in countries where the government has forgotten about the sovereignty of cyberspace and has blocked access to some websites and online services.
When you use Tor, all your traffic passes through a large number of encrypted nodes. Thus, you achieve two effects. First, you get access to the resource you are looking for from someone else’s IP address, bypassing any regional locks. Secondly, the path to your own PC becomes so confusing that not even a special organization can find you.
The interface of the browser itself copies the Firefox interface, so there is no special knowledge needed to get started with TOR. A serious disadvantage of TOR is that the numerous redirects of traffic significantly reduce the speed of the Internet.
Use a VPN
Another way to get Internet privacy is by using a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN is a technology that allows creating a special encrypted and inaccessible channel between the user’s device and the Internet network. This allows you to hide your real IP address, become anonymous, and also encrypt your traffic. In general, a VPN is quite reliable and easy to use. You can learn more about a VPN from our previous articles:
- What is a VPN connection?
- 7 reasons why you should use a VPN
- VPN vs. ISP: Who can you trust?
- Myths and Facts about a VPN
- Tor vs. VPN
- How to Choose the Best VPN Service
If you need a VPN to protect your Internet privacy, try the best virtual private network application for free – VPN Client. This app provides 90+ VPN servers across 40+ countries. It offers a 7-day Free trial with an unlimited VPN and unlimited bandwidth.
In this article, we have shared many methods of protecting Internet privacy and maintaining anonymity on the network. But even this list is sufficient enough to significantly complicate the task of third parties who wish to steal your personal data. And please, think twice before posting photos, location and any other information about yourself on the Internet. By combining a proven VPN provider with other privacy tools, you will provide a greater level of protection for your personal information.