Think about who has access to your personal information or who is able to read your emails or Facebook posts? We’re not talking about your loved ones! No one should have access to your private data, especially not an unauthorised third party.
You are, however, being tracked online. Whenever you do something online, somebody is watching you. Every time you go online and start using social networks, sending emails, checking online banking statements, buying online or visiting forums – these activities can be spied on and monitored by these people:
1. Cybercriminals and hackers
Cybercriminals and hackers tend to make a living out of stealing the private data and information of people, that is not necessarily your financial data. They could possibly have plenty of information about a person to steal their identity. Once this has happened, it would become quite easy for them to use the stolen identity to transfer money from bank accounts, apply for credit cards in your name, purchase expensive items online, file fake tax returns, and commit other similar crimes. In 2012, 12.6 million U.S. adults were victims of identity theft, which makes up 5.6% of U.S. adults. On average an identity theft victim will spend 12 hours and $365 to repair the damages.
The easiest way for a cybercriminal to steal private information is by sniffing network traffic at public places that have free WiFi such as hotels, coffee shops, and airports. Most WiFi connections are not secure. On of the best ways to protect your data – use VPN.
2. Internet Service Providers or ISPs
An ISP will assign an IP address to all of your internet enabled devices, which will be visible to all whenever you connect to the internet. From this IP address, the ISP will know every single thing that you do online, including what type of browser is used, what emails are sent and received, files downloaded, what websites are visited, etc.
3. Corporations and advertisers
Personal information and even online browsing behavior data are quite valuable to corporations and advertisers. Hundreds of data brokers are compiling and selling information about you: Phone records, texts, phone location, computer location, web history, social networking use, background checks or credit history. This data, which more and more companies tend to mine, sell or trade without any internet user consent – can help certain advertisers pick what services or products should be promoted and what ads should be shown to you, or someone fitting your demographic .
An employer wants their employees to be productive at work, and may monitor online activities to ensure that an employee isn’t wasting time on dating sites, social media sites, or other personal activities such as games or email. That said, they can monitor the computers on your work network and track your online activity.
5. The Government
The government too may be spying on you. They can demand private information from companies such as ISP’s, search engines like Google, and/or social communication services like Facebook. More countries are introducing data retention laws, which make it law to store data about citizens, accessed and shared by several government agencies.
Check out other articles to get vital tips that can help you maintain your online privacy. Have we missed anything, let us know in the article comments below.