Tips About Your Online Privacy

Online Privacy

The internet has become increasingly personal over time, but it’s also more dangerous than ever, which means you need to take extra precautions when browsing on the web.

It might seem obvious, but there are some things you should know about keeping yourself secure on the web. Keep reading to find out what they are.


Understand the risks of an unsafe internet

Understand the risks of an unsafe internet

It may not be immediately apparent, but the internet is becoming more unsafe as time passes. The first step towards protecting your data is understanding why this happens so much in the first place.

One of the main reasons for this is that we often use services with little security or privacy protections built-in. In other words, sites like Google Maps (which can track you) or Facebook (which can be hacked). When these kinds of problems arise, it’s easy to get paranoid about the whole thing. But there’s no reason to do so if you understand what’s going on.

A good starting point is reading up on how companies work (or don't) and learning about specific issues. For example, it's worth knowing which companies have been caught sharing user data without permission. It’s important to remember that just because something seems wrong doesn’t necessarily mean it is.

Another crucial part of staying safe is educating yourself on how hackers operate. A lot of people have written plenty of guides on how to keep yourself safer online, but do you really understand and follow all the recommendations you read on them? It is very important to know what kind of tools for protection you can implement on your daily basis when using the internet.


Know how to create a safe digital footprint

A digital footprint is data left behind when someone interacts with the Internet. This includes IP addresses, cookies, browser and application usage data, and other metadata. Digital footprints are left by various devices, including browsers, search engines, social media sites, and advertising networks. They generate insights into how people interact with the Internet, which companies they use, and what campaigns they see and click on.

You probably already know how to avoid leaving traces behind on websites, but it’s always worth remembering that you shouldn’t rely on any method alone. Using multiple tools together will help to ensure that your digital identity isn’t compromised. This includes making sure you delete cookies regularly, for instance.

If you're interested on creating a more personal online presence, we recommend checking out DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials, which offers a variety of features designed to make your life easier. One such feature is automatically clear all tracked information after every session. Another helpful tool is Ghostery, which lets you see precisely where tracking scripts come from and what kind of data they collect.

Finally, consider installing a browser extension like Disconnect, which allows you to block third-party trackers across most major browsers. The aim here is simple: stop advertisers from following you around the web. As you'll soon discover, it works rather well at doing so.


What is fingerprinting?

What is fingerprinting

Fingerprinting refers to how advertising networks build profiles of users based on their online activities. These profiles can then be shared between different organizations—including adtech firms, social media platforms, and government agencies.

As a result, while you might think that you’re anonymous on a particular platform, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest otherwise. Consider the fact that many apps now share your location history, device ID, and app usage habits with various partners. There are also numerous ways marketers can identify who you are through data collection practices, whether through IP address mapping, cookie tracking, or cross-device profiling.

Websites can also leave fingerprints behind, though it’s harder to pinpoint exactly what’s happening. While no single site leaves a unique trail, several factors play into it: your location, your operating system, your browser, and more. However, as a general rule of thumb, you should try to stay signed out wherever possible to prevent them from collecting this kind of data.


Use VPN proxies, virtual machines, and virtual numbers to protect your privacy

While fingerprinting is bad enough, another threat lurks in wait: cybercriminals can target your physical address by combining data from public sources with data collected elsewhere. They can then use this information to figure out where you live.

This is known as geolocation targeting, and while it sounds scary, it’s pretty straightforward to fight back against. A Virtual Private Network (VPN) creates a secure connection between you and a server running somewhere else. A VPN protects your location from prying eyes by encrypting all of your traffic.

In addition to browsing anonymously, a VPN service can also mask your actual IP address, which makes it impossible for websites to pinpoint your exact location. Some providers even offer free trials, which gives you a chance to test them out before buying anything.

As mentioned above, there are countless ways in which someone could compromise your identity online. Fortunately, most VPN providers offer several security and privacy features, including anti-malware protection and encryption protocols, zero logs policies, and more.

However, it’s still worth noting that VPNs aren’t perfect. There’s a lot of debate surrounding the topic right now, mainly due to how they handle DNS requests.

The use of virtual numbers helps to protect the user's privacy because it prevents the actual number from being exposed when hacking affects platforms, such as Facebook. Most of the user's data is exposed. Additionally, it protects against SPAM from companies using the phone number for marketing purposes. There are different virtual numbers, such as VoIP offered by Twillio, Nextiva, and Non-VoIP offered by Major Phones, VerifyWithSMS, among others.


Conclusion

Ultimately, the best way to protect your privacy is to limit the amount of data that you give away in the first place. That said, there are times when it’s unavoidable, and when this happens, you should be aware of the threats lurking around the corner. So don’t waste time and start protecting yourself on the net!

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