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How to Defend Your Online Privacy?

How to Defend Your Online Privacy?

You know recently we found out just how little privacy we have left online especially with a certain social media site revealing that they just handed out loads of personal info to other companies without your consent. But it isn't the only problem. There are plenty of other ways your information is being collected every single day in ways that you've never suspected. So that's what we're going to try and fix today by going over ways that certain people can harvest your information and things you can do to stop it.


Websites

In terms of Privacy, information is valuable and there are a lot of different entities that can profit from it with varying degrees of maliciousness. First off we have websites themselves. This doesn't just include social media sites but basically every website out there with social media it's pretty obvious what they do which is take all the information you give them whether that's from your profile or posts you make and then turn around and sell all of that to advertisers.

But the other websites aren't safe either because most of them can track your browsing habits through other ways. For example, an advertising network will put a cookie in your browser when you visit one website, and then we'll be able to track you across every other website you visit that also uses that ad network. And because there are only a handful of ad networks that all websites use it's very easy for them to see almost all of your browsing history.


And if you thought that was bad enough what if I told you that many Internet service providers?

Yes, the companies that you pay to access the Internet also track you for advertising purposes. And in some cases even inject ads in your Internet connection onto websites that wouldn't have been there otherwise. And I mean why wouldn't they? They're a company looking to turn a profit. So if there is no law forbidding it. You can expect that's what they'll do. Before you get too concerned, I should point out that Yes there are things you can do to protect yourself against tracking from these websites and even your ISP that we'll get into in a bit.

Some of you clever viewers have already probably guessed one of the ways is obviously a VPN like NordVPN. And you're right. But before we get into solutions Let's quickly finish up with two more groups that just love to steal your personal info.


Malicious hackers

Now no surprise one of those groups are malicious hackers but believe it or not they are actually the easiest to defend against so we won't have to spend too much time on them. Common sense like keeping your software up to date running an antivirus can pretty much thwart any of those issues.


The final entity though is possibly the Scariest which is the government itself. You might be thinking well how is that the Scariest?

Well, consider this with companies. At least you know what their goal is profit. They want to find out as much information about you as they can and then sell you stuff. Maybe a little bit creepy but not necessarily malicious. The government on the other hand well you can't really be sure what they want. They just collect as much information as they can for the sake of it.

And by the way, I hope everyone realizes that based on what we've learned from reports over the last decade that the government at least in the US is likely intercepting and storing everything everyone does online. Like seriously everything. It's not even a conspiracy at this point but it's easy to forget as we go about our day.


Some real solutions to all this

In the case of governments ISPs and hackers intercepting your data. The answer is actually rather simple to encrypt everything. Someone can capture whatever data they want but if it's encrypted that information is totally useless. And that's exactly what a VPN does. If you're not familiar with them already. With a VPN you're essentially sending all your information through an encrypted tunnel from your computer.

So nobody along the way can intercept it and read it. Not hackers, not the government not even your Internet service provider itself. And even websites you visit won't be able to see your real IP address only the IP address of the VPN server.

Plus because you're using the same VPN server IP address as so many other users you're totally anonymous.

For example, if you use NordVPN, you can pick any of these servers in any country and it will instantly change our IP address and look like we're in that country. And this is just the simplified view. There are actually multiple servers for each country. You can pick yourself if you want to get that specific.

You can switch servers and countries as much as you want and you can see that the IP address changes every time. The way it works is any connections you want to make are first encrypted and then sent to NordVPN servers. Then your connection is made at the end of the other end of this tunnel as you can think of it.

This means that websites, search engines, the government or whoever else won't be able to track their behavior. Or even if you're on a school or work network they can't spy on you and see what you're doing. And another important thing I should mention is that you definitely want to make sure that the VPN service you use does not keep logs or else who knows the government could show up and then get your data that way.


Other benefits to using a VPN

NordVPN does not keep logs. So that is perfect. By the way, as you can imagine there are other benefits to using a VPN as well. For example, if there are geo-restrictions for certain streaming content you'll want to watch which means that they're blocked in your country a VPN could be used to get around that. And if your ISP is known to throttle certain content this can prevent that because they can't see what you're doing.

Plus when it comes to the Advertiser tracking and hackers VPN even as a feature called Cyber SEC which can filter all that out. So really all your bases would be covered.

All right now another thing I should tell you about which you may not even have known existed are so-called Super cookies which may be used by your ISP if you've never heard of them before. That's because Internet companies have done their best to hide them hoping no customers would notice. And this is one of the ways that they may track you without your knowledge but Luckily ISPs are typically required to have a way to opt-out.

This is going to vary depending on who your Internet service provider is but deep in your account settings page for your ISP they usually have an option for advertising and Privacy. And this also goes for your cell provider. You should check them too.


Privacy Policy link

Another good place to start is the Privacy Policy link at the bottom of your ISP or Sell carriers website which should almost always have information on how to opt-out of things though you're likely still going to have to dig through it a bit.

How to Defend Your Online Privacy?

For example, Look my carrier has a link to opt-out of all sorts of tracking. Look at this relevant advertising online behavioral advertising.

How to Defend Your Online Privacy?

And if you click through that there's even a thing called enhanced relevant advertising I mean what on Earth does that even mean.


CPNI 

But the big Daddy of information tracking you want to watch out for has the suspiciously boring name CPNI which stands for customer proprietary network information. In simpler terms, it's basically all the information the company has about you including any info you use to sign up such as name and address plus how you use their network which in the case of cell phone companies is basically every phone call you make timestamps, call duration, destination, and loads of other stuff.

It's likely that both your ISP and phone company track this type of info. However, I believe that they are required by law at least in the USA to allow you to opt out but that doesn't mean they'll make it easy. What you can do is simply do a search for your company name search: [ISP Name] CPNI and that should get you to where you need to be to opt-out.

But remember there's other info they may be tracking. So definitely dig through your account settings and look at the Privacy policy because in my case the links hidden in the Privacy policy where not anywhere else in my account settings. So Yeah there's a lot more you need to do to maintain your Privacy than you may have thought but it can be done. The companies definitely hide away your options hoping you'll never notice.


A VPN is a really important tool to have

That service has a lot more features. Just a couple of cool examples are the specialty servers they offer such as the anti-DDoS servers PeerToPeer servers for Torrenting double VPN if you want to have just the maximum encryption possible and even a unique kind called Onion / VPN. And that actually allows you to access the onion router without having to download the special tor software which I think is pretty awesome.

In any case, I hope you guys found this article helpful let me know what you think down in the comments like maybe you know of other great ways to protect your privacy that I didn't mention that companies don't want you to know.

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