Interest in private web browsers has increased as a result of hacks and other security breaches, locally and worldwide. Many concerned internet users have begun looking for secure … Read More
Data Privacy Day is the new yearly holiday you’ll want to remember. Tuesday, January 28th, is a reminder of just how real the risk of being exposed to malware, facing identity theft, or having your private data attacked through phishing, smishing, and data farming can be. When and where you don’t protect yourself, scammers and fraudsters will take advantage and can even ruin your life from behind a computer screen.
How secure is your data when you go online? In a world of hacks, cons, tricks, fraud, and scams, our list of 93 internet privacy tips can help protect your family whenever and wherever you go digital. Privacy is no longer something you can take for granted. Risking your privacy might be as simple as turning on your laptop, logging into your email account, or buying something online.
Falling in love should not be the same as falling for a dating scam. Starting a relationship shouldn’t risk your private information. The mixed signals of dating can be confusing enough without worrying you’re at risk of losing it all to someone who is a con artist.
1. Never trust someone because they have a dating profile.
Even if the dating profile appears polished, it might be a scam. To create a dating profile, all it takes is an internet connection and a stolen image from Google. Seeing isn’t believing when it comes to dating profiles or even online photographs.
2. Don’t click on any links that are sent to you on dating sites.
There are very few valid reasons why any dater (a.k.a., stranger) would send you a link to an external site. Only scammers and bots are motivated to link you to outside websites. Their goal is to sell you items you don’t want or need (such as online games), or have you fill in your information and then steal it from you and sell it on the dark web.
3. Romance Scammers
Catfish are people who pretend to be someone they’re not for emotional or romantic reasons. Romance scammers are one type of catfish — they fake online romantic connections to scam people out of money. Many people fall victim to it and lose their life savings.
4. Dating and romance scammers will try and get you to delete your dating profile and private message them on an outside text or message site. They do this as they are running dozens of cons at a time and don’t want you to know they’re still on the dating site targeting other victims.
5. Fraudulent Money Requests
If someone asks you for money online, assume they are a scammer. They might give you colorful reasons and tall tales as to why they need the money, but it’s all a con for your cash.
6. Warning Signs
Warning signs when online dating are users who say they live far away, are in the military, work on an oil rig, etc. Daters who claim to live or often travel out of the area are common lies told by romance scammers. Their story is a ‘cover to hide their identity while they work on stealing money from you.
7. Personal Information Inquiry
Scammers will find ways to ask for your personal information. Maybe they want your birthdate at first, followed by your street address, etc. Before long, they will get a hold of your credit card information and use it to max out your credit cards.
8. Web of Scammers
When you do encounter a dating scammer, it might not even be one person working alone. Often, what you think of as one person is a small to medium-sized (even large) web of scammers working together to con victims and share in the profits they reap.
People who are scammed by online daters are often too embarrassed to tell anyone. As dating scams happen to so many innocent daters, this is precisely the wrong thing to do. Instead, they should immediately report the fraud or attempted fraud to the FTC. Seniors are particularly at risk of losing profits to these scammers.
10. Quick Con
A dating scammer who wants a quick con might be someone with malware. You download it, and they immediately phish your information and sell or use it.
Messaging apps are an accessible and convenient way to connect with friends and family without needing to use paid cell phone texting. While Apple users might rely on their iMessage feature, other cell phone users gravitate toward Facebook’s Messenger, WhatsApp, Viber, and others. Many messaging apps have encrypted messaging, which is a draw but does not eliminate all privacy risks.
You’re only as safe as your password. If you’ve ever had your email accounts hacked or compromised – or if you use a shared computer – all of your accounts could be at risk, including your favorite messaging apps. A hacker could log in and send spam, malware, or phishing links, or use your account to scam friends and family.
Kenny Trinh, Managing Editor of NetBookNews says:
Use good passwords for your social media accounts, at least 12 characters, and includes numbers, symbols, capital letters, and lower case letters. Make a unique one for each account and avoid using a "master password" for all of them. Use a password manager to help you keep track of all those passwords.
Not all encryption is equal. Many messaging apps use the word “encryption”, hoping you’ll assume they are safe when they might not be in all cases.
13. Type of Encryption
Look for end-to-end encryption or messaging companies that have open-source software that is reviewed by privacy experts. While transit encryption is better than nothing, having end-to-end encryption, message deletion, and metadata encryption are best.
14. Message Deletion
While messaging services like iMessage and Messenger allow you to delete messages on your end, they will still show on the device of the person you messaged. This is not systematically a safe way to message, as anyone with access to the phone or device of those you message could see your private and personal information.
15. Disable Chat History
If you’re concerned about what others might see, disable your chat history. However, depending on the app, the person you message should also disable theirs for maximum security.
16. Unsend and Delete for Everyone
Do you have sender’s remorse? On Facebook Messenger, you can “unsend” or delete a message you sent within a short period, but after that window, it is too late to unsend. Since 2017, on WhatsApp, you can use their “Delete for Everyone”.
You don’t have to know what metadata is to be leaving it. When you send messages, they, like emails, come with additional “auxiliary” information attached to them. This includes items like sender and receiver information or ID. It can also show time sent and received/read, along with your IP address and phone number, even the ID # for your device!
Messaging apps process this information, and it is stored on their server. The reason for this makes sense; they need a method to sort messages and organize them to reach the correct person. Signal has the best press on metadata storage, as it removes sender ID from stored metadata. Many apps don’t go out of their way to let you know what they store, which may be to your detriment.
18. Secret Messages
Secret messages are a type of encrypted message on Facebook Messenger. As Facebook calls it, “the messages are intended just for you and the other person – not anyone else, including us.” These messages can be set to disappear.
19. The Wrong Hands
Have you ever shared a credit card number or private information with a loved one on a messaging app? Many users do, and this can result in fraud and financial loss when it is compromised. Other times, metadata is hacked, and the hacker can find out the patterns of the user, where they live (geographic location), at what time they use the messaging app, and who they message and talk to.
20. Is Government Watching?
Wanting privacy doesn’t mean that you’re doing anything wrong. You don’t have to be a cheater, hacker, or scammer to want your data safe. One worry that many people have is whether or not the developer of an app will tell you if their messaging app is genuinely private. Is the information being filtered by the NSA, for instance?
While Signal has been given the green light by Edward Snowden, who some consider a whistleblower on privacy, other security experts also concur that it is the best peer-reviewed messaging app. Signal, Telegram, and Wickr.
We use social media platforms to connect with friends – old and new – and to share our lives. While all of us might experience FOMO (fear of missing out) from time to time, the risks to your internet privacy when using social media aren’t just from oversharing. Before you tweet, post, or take a photo, in a square shape, to hashtag on Instagram, beware of the following:
Shayne Sherman, CEO of TechLoris says:
Your information is most likely to be compromised precisely where you think: your own social media profiles. After all, why go through the trouble of any in-depth hacking when I can crawl over the public profiles on Facebook for personal data. Sure, many people use the privacy settings on Facebook but, when I can scrape thousands of accounts a second, data from even 1% of people are still a gold mine.
Are your friends and followers really your friends? We aren’t talking about the frenemies you might have leftover from high school. Instead, the people you don’t know at all. They might look like the guy or girl next door, but that’s the disguise that many fraudsters and scammers use.
22. Contact List Scan
Frequently scan your feed and contact list. Social media platforms allow you to report or block problematic users but don’t count on the sites or apps to catch every single scammer. Before you add someone with mutual friends or followers, check with the people you trust and ask how they know the person. Have they ever met them in person?
23. How to Recognize a Fraudster
Social media is not a dating app, but many scammers find their victims this way. They can review your feed, posts, friend’s list, and photos and feel like they already know you before they message you “hello”. They can sync (i.e., fake) their hobbies with yours to make them see alluring, and you are more likely to trust them.
24. Private Profiles
Make your profile private. Although it can be tempting to let yourself share with the world, you want to keep your inner circle safe for privacy protection.
25. Your Whereabouts
One significant risk many fall victim to is sharing where they are in the present moment. This can be a danger if strangers on your feed can find you. Moreover, it also tells people when you will NOT be home. If you post that you’re taking a two-week vacation to Hawaii, you let criminals know they have two weeks to rob your home, steal your car, or hack into your network, undisturbed.
Since social media is about sharing, posting, and DM’s (direct messages) it’s easy to use the built-in messengers without thinking about it much. However, you may want to consider using a separate messaging app when sharing personal or essential information. Often social media messaging lacks the ultra encrypted characteristics of apps like Signal.
27. Photo Sharing
You share a photo online and aren’t concerned. Well, whether that photograph is of yourself or your loved ones you might be providing criminals and scammers with unintended background details. Maybe you didn’t say where you are, but the photographer’s surroundings make it clear.
Or, perhaps you show the outside of your home and the address or the sign where your child’s sporting practice is. Beware of what you share and scan the background of your images.
28. Photo Search
With that in mind, you can try and search your images and see what shows up. Do the photos you search for link to any scammers or spammers who have stolen your pictures? Trace where your photographs are being used on the web and make sure it’s where you want them to be. Contact the poster or website should the images be used against your will or without your consent.
Blocking shouldn’t only be a last resort. Once you get comfortable with blocking people, it can be empowering to protect yourself and your privacy. Each time you join a new social media platform, spend some time familiarizing yourself with the block and report options.
Report posts that you consider threatening (to yourself or others), dangerous, or which violate the site’s terms of service. Block and report users who are harassing, seem to be scammers, send you spam, or make you uncomfortable.
30. Shared Computers, Lost Phones, Shared Hotspots, etc.
If you lose your phone, immediately change your password. If you see a hotspot or unsecured WiFi in a coffee shop or mall, don’t use it. If you use a public computer, be sure to access the social media site through a private window and do not share or save your password on the websites.
Brianne Sandorf from ASecureLife.com has the following to say:
Be cautious any time you use a Wi-Fi connection that's not based in your home or place of work. Using an unfamiliar network makes you more vulnerable to malicious actors. If you have to use, say, the Wi-Fi at a coffee shop, have a good firewall in place, don't do anything sensitive or transaction-oriented, and consider using a VPN.
Darrin Giglio, Chief Investigator with North American Investigations says:
Connecting to public WiFi is a common way for sensitive information to become compromised. Public networks are unprotected, and hackers can intercept data sent between your wireless device and the access point. You shouldn't make any online purchases when sitting in an airport or coffee shop using public WiFi because your credit card information may be exposed to cybercriminals.
Luka Arežina, Editor-in-Chief of DataProt gives us this insight:
“The first tip would be to always avoid public Wi-Fi, especially in hot spots such as fast-food restaurants and airport lounges. If you have the option to use mobile data, it will always be the safest way to access the internet on your phone.
In case you are stuck using a public Wi-Fi at an airport, for instance, you can get the free Wi-Fi signal on your laptop (assuming it has anti-virus installed), then connect to your laptop to your phone through USB tethering instead of hot-spotting.”
Part of the fun of a smartphone is all the apps you can use. To enjoy those apps, you typically give up a certain amount of personal data. The more pressing concern is whether or not that will be something you regret!
Smartphone users often allow apps to access their contact lists. This might mean letting the app to see everyone you connect with and possibly scan your messages.
32. Location Sharing
Apps often ask you to authorize the sharing of your location. That means that, by agreeing, the app can track your location. Some apps give you the option of allowing tracking at all times or just when you use the app.
33. Skipping Privacy Documentation
34. Unlocked Device
If you jailbreak your device, it might be more vulnerable to apps that haven’t been thoroughly reviewed for privacy risks or which might be controversial.
35. Banking and Credit Cards
When you have all of your information saved in a banking app, make sure that your password requires facial recognition to load. DO NOT use the same password that you use for all your other accounts, as this could lead to financial ruin if someone hacks into your phone or if you lose it.
36. Password Lock
Set your phone to a password lock and have it lock immediately when you stop using it. If you get tired of continually entering your password, authorize fingerprint or facial recognition on your phone.
37. Popular Apps
It’s not a popularity contest, but popular and established apps are more likely to have ironed out quirks and work properly, with better safety and privacy options available. However, this is not absolute.
38. Unsolicited Messages
If you receive unsolicited messages through an app or game, handle them with care. Consider it reasonably likely that they may originate from a scammer or bot and do not reply, lest you get sucked into a fraudulent personal relationship.
39. File Sharing Sites
File sharing sites are a definite “no”, as you might download malware or corrupt files. Instead, stick to authorized apps through your phone’s App Store or Google Play.
40. Camera Access
When you give an app access to your camera, it can view your current and past images and access your camera to see what you are currently doing. Determine if this privacy trade off is worth it.
Are you unsure whether you’re being tracked? If advertisements on the web seem a little too personal, you might be! Unfortunately, in today’s world, it is almost guaranteed that using search engines and social media will lead to you being tracked by ads.
You might be giving access by accepting cookies, allowing pop-up ads, or connecting to various web pages that put you at risk. A large part of ad tracking is collecting data. Marketers love this as it helps them know who to target.
As a consumer, you may not enjoy this tracking. There is, right now, likely an overwhelming amount of data available about you. Advertisers are using it to collect metrics, and this is what you need to know.
41. If You Have A Phone, You ARE Being Tracked
According to what Fred Cate told 13 WTHR news, ads can know where you go and even what you order. This helps advertisers but doesn’t improve your privacy. How does Cate know this? He is a Professor of Law at Indiana University Maurer School of Law and Senior Fellow with the Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research.
42. They’re Spying on Your Prior Contacts
If you’ve already shared your contacts, you might not want to undo that access. However, stop and think, why would an app need access to all your contacts if they aren’t going to message them on your behalf and not a messaging app?
If you have an option not to share your contacts and it won’t impact the app’s performance, go back to settings and change access to “do not share”.
43. Do Not Share Location
Once again, consider the app you’re using. Many apps don’t need your location. Decide between “at all times” or “when using the app”. If you’re concerned about privacy and able to turn off your location, go to settings and privacy, and change access.
44. Tracking Across Different Websites
Would you want every website you go to include you in ad tracking? For most people, the answer is a firm no. Apple’s Safari WebKit team has been trying to help with anti-tracking, but assume that you are being monitored (mainly if you stay logged in to social media accounts like Facebook).
45. Link Decoration
You may not know the term, but you experience it. Link decoration adds extra information to a URL. This means that when you click on the link, the link is provided with information. Other types of code which represents information can also be attached to the link, such as the query you had on Google.
If cookies were the only information risk you worried about, search engines are beginning to filter those out, and Google would like to render cookies obsolete. However, they still track website activity, and each server gives the user a “cookie”, which acts as identification. When you go back to that website, your browser then passes the “cookie” back.
47. DOM Storage
This form of cookies stands for the Document Object Model and is a broader form of cookie storage to make websites interactive. For privacy purposes, this means that more cookies mean storage items will be substantial and that you should go into your search engine settings and disable DOM Storage.
48. Beware of Hidden Ads
Imagine an ad you can only see part of, or it might contain hidden information. This is how a hidden ad generates revenue without actually being shown correctly.
49. Impression Laundering
You see an ad on a trusted site, but it’s intentionally been placed there by an advertiser who wants you to believe the product is trusted when their brand and website may not be. Instead, you might end up endangering your privacy by clicking your way onto dangerous sites that might steal your information or not be trusted.
50. Regularly Review Privacy Updates
Do not skip the next privacy update on the apps, sites, and social media networks you use. You can often opt-out of specific data collection and should do so when it is available to you. Facebook recently gave users the ability to review and download information about themselves.
Search engine privacy is part of information privacy and something which is being considered amongst many schools of thoughts – scholars to laymen. Since search engines are independent and for profit, there are not as many specific rules they must follow as one would think. Instead, beyond basic government laws, the response from users and the media drives the conversation.
51. How Visible is your IP Address?
52. Saved Searches
Google will save your searches and browsing history unless you turn those options off. If you can’t figure out how to do so, be sure to consult “Help” in Google or Gmail and search your question as needed.
53. Legal Framework Lacking
As mentioned, search engines come up with many of their own rules because they can. They look for loopholes, and if they aren’t receiving negative press or discouraging user feedback, they may not alter their practices. Speak up, stay informed, and take action.
You know of ISP’s as Internet Service Providers, and most people want high speed, fast connectivity. Your modem and router connect your system to the web through your internet provider.
Your ISP may be a privacy risk as it sends information as you shop, email, and message. Whenever you send an email or use your computer, your actions go through your computer to the ISP server and then to the destination of other network servers.
54. Banking Information
Banks are required to have Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) compliance, which includes many regulations and guidelines for IT. The ISP they use should have added layers of security and monitoring, which another ISP’s not connected to banks may not.
This is important to remember if you connect your bank cards (credit or ATM) to many other apps or websites. They may lack the same level of security and could expose your information to hackers during a breach.
55. Work Regulations
When you are at work and access private personal email or sites – or allow your employees to do so through your ISP – you might be putting your company’s data at risk. Hackers could also send your employee’s malware which their email might not catch and which will then invade your entire network.
56. When Does Your ISP Track You?
If your ISP is watching you, how do you stay incognito and still go online? The FCC previously ruled that you own your data, and ISP’s should not sell it. However, this your ISP data is even collected, stored, and may be used in conjunction with other sites to market to you. The FTC has investigated what ISPs are doing and if they are spying on you.
57. Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)
As internet users want and seek more privacy, many people in the government would like us to have less. A VPN will encrypt your internet connection between your computer as it connects to a remote server. This hides your original IP address through secure protocols as internet traffic is tunneled to give you privacy.
Will Ellis, Founder of Privacy Australia gives us the following insight:
Connecting to an insecure network can allow cybercriminals to gain access to the files on your computer and monitor your online activity. This is an often-overlooked way for people to fall victim to cybercrime and can yield unfortunate results. To prevent this, users can utilize a VPN. A VPN (Virtual Private Network) creates a private, encrypted tunnel, which significantly reduces the chances for a user to fall victim to cybercrime. It creates a barrier (as if users were on a private network) and allows for data to be sent and received in a much safer way.
58. Amount of Traffic
Your ISP handles all your internet traffic, which means that, without additional measures, your ISP is aware of all the sites you access, and you are leaving a trail with your ISP. You will need other means to keep your data and web trail private.
59. Proxy Servers
A proxy server is not a VPN or the TOR browser. Instead, a proxy helps to secure your web browser. It is not a VPN that uses encrypted tunneling or the TOR browser, which allows bounce traffic to various points on its network, for privacy and anonymity.
Instead, a proxy is considered a digital “door” between you and the web. Some people refer to it as a sort of firewall. For everyday users, a dynamic gproxy is good at hiding your IP address from website cookies but does not give you total privacy.
60. Dark Web
You don’t have to be downloading illegal videos, or a criminal drug lord or arms dealer to use the dark web. By connecting to it, you are merely saying that you want privacy. Use a trusted step by step process to connect to the dark web and beware of the sites you access once you’re on it.
Tor Browser helps you use the dark web by directing web traffic to bounce through random points in its network, all encrypted. The goal? To mask identity. However, when it comes to ISP privacy, know that your ISP can see when you connect to TOR, and the TOR entry can see your IP address.
However, the TOR Browser is a way to protect privacy, and you can increase your privacy by connecting with a VPN in addition to TOR. However, hackers and even the CIA now create fake pages that will reroute you to trackable pages that will expose your data. This is fine if you’re not doing anything illegal, but even innocent people don’t want the CIA watching them directly.
62. Have an IT Expert Check Your System
You don’t have to have an IT professional on call, but it is helpful to have someone routinely (yearly or biannually) check your system and make sure you are set up and protected. They can check your virus scan and more, along with any viruses you may have gotten.
63. Use HTTPS
Can your ISP still track you when you use HTTPS? Yes. Although this may not be the answer you were hoping for, it is better to use https, than not. However, your ISP can still see when you use https sites. The https encrypts the details of that connection, and it’s the same way someone at the post office might see you sent a letter but not what is inside of it.
64. Data Storage
To protect data, many people talk about encryption, blocking cookies, and using https://. All three are steps in the right direction, but it is still best to assume that these methods only decrease the information stored and transmitted through your ISP but doesn’t eliminate it. Cookies are no longer the only way we are tracked. Privacy will only increase if you use a TOR browser and VPN and are confident you’re using them correctly.
Each company you shop or a bank with and each app and site that you use is collecting data about you, your system, location, habits, and more. This data can be both structured and unstructured data. The term “big data usually applies to large businesses and organizations. Big data is vital to all companies that have consumer interaction and should be especially important to the person whose data is collected.
65. Who Uses Big Data?
It’s not just guesswork about which companies collect the most data. There are lists. The top data collection sites are probably sites that you directly or indirectly interact with. They encompass many of the top computer companies, the top search engine, and even the top online shopping site: IBM, HP Enterprise, Teradata, Oracle, SAP, EMC, Amazon, Microsoft, Google, VMware, Splunk, Alteryx, and Cogito.
66. Why Do Companies Collect Big Data?
Big data isn’t only about tracking consumers on a personal level; it is also about the more extensive tracking of how they are doing as a company with promotions, promos, sales, or coupons. They store consumer information for safety, follow-up, and internal review.
On their end, data collection is meant to be carefully stored and collected to ward against fraud and hackers. However, they get perks from the data they collect, even at your expense.
67. Breach of Big Data
We’ve probably all heard of credit card companies that have had their customer’s information breached by hackers or exposed in some way. However, disclosing credit card information can happen when you use financial means at a restaurant, store, or external affiliate web location.
A more substantial breach can also happen directly through a company’s website or an employee mistake. While your credit card company and any large company you use has a breach, they should inform you – although many consumers find out through the news.
68. Who Pays the Price?
If there is a big data breach within your credit card company or if your credit card details are stolen or hacked, you might end up paying for fraudulent charges on your monthly bill without realizing it. While the credit company should remedy any fees you aren’t responsible for; if you paid before anyone knew about fraudulent charges, you might lose money.
69. Don’t Let Your Company Be Hacked
Maybe you don’t consider your company as having big data storage, but even small to moderate data needs protection. You might store customer’s names and addresses, credit card information, usernames and passwords, and more.
Have a clear and concise way to store consumer information, which anonymizes a portion of their credit card information, social security number, DOB, etc. Have an IT expert routinely review your protocol, monitor your data and risks, and update the virus blockers.
70. Privacy Systems
Having password protected restrictions on company computers helps protect data. On company computers, only specific people should be able to access sensitive data. Also, consider an internal scan to watch for employees who might have compromised or stolen information.
71. Be Transparent
Companies need to be transparent with you about what they collect. If you haven’t read or received their data collection policy, ask for it, and look online through their website.
72. The Cost
The cost of massive data breaches is extensive. According to IBM, the average cost of a company data breach is USD 3.92 million.
73. Brand Reputation
When a big company has a breach, it may not remain as trusted, and their reputation will be impacted in the eyes of consumers. While you, as a consumer, can’t control hacks with large company’s data being breached, you can make sure to take action once it is.
Immediately reach out to all of the major credit reporting agencies to prevent identity fraud and credit card irregularities. Ask for a credit freeze. Often the company who had the breach will offer credit monitoring to victims for some time, free.
Do you think that you’ve done everything you can to protect your privacy? What if there is data you’re exposing without knowing it? There is one type of data exposure that has no real solution or protection. It is called browser fingerprinting, and it’s already happening to you.
74. What is Browser Fingerprinting?
According to data on 500 sites that U.S. residents visit most, at least a third of those sites use hidden code to “fingerprint” you. Why? So they can check on your device, habits, and identity. It helps them keep track of customers.
It can also help the site be interactive and personalized, but it doesn’t help you if you’re unaware that your privacy is impacted. A browser fingerprint allows websites to identify you and remember or track your settings, actions, and more.
75. Who Uses It?
Of those many companies, who are explicitly browser fingerprinting you? It could be your neighborhood retailer – such as Best Buy – all the way to porn sites like XVideos. These types of websites collect details about your device, and if you use their site, you can’t hide those details from their view.
VPN’s won’t protect you, nor will a private browser, nor will clear tracker cookies. The most worrying part for a privacy concerned consumer is that your attempts to be more private will also be noted in the data collection.
76. Why Do They Do It?
You might wonder why a website would go to so much trouble. In a world where more of us are aware of the threat to our privacy and taking efforts to protect our data. Retailers are concerned about the decrease in their ability to track consumers. They want their data for their own use or even to sell it. They want to market to you and follow you.
77. Risks & Benefits
Some people have always allowed “cookies” and like targeted ads as they feel it shows them more relevant content. Others do not, as it makes them feel violated and watched, or unwanted annoyed when advertisements follow them around the web. With all data we share, there are risks of breaches and hacks which might open you up to outside entities knowing too much about you.
78. Confidentiality & Data Exposed
Researchers say that browser fingerprinting is highly effective. This is the exact list of what information it can generate and collect, according to Restore privacy: the User-agent header, Encoding header, Accept header, the list of plugins, the platform, Connection header, Language header, the cookies preferences (whether they are allowed/not), any Do Not Track preferences, your timezone, your device’s screen resolution and color depth, fonts, local storage used and session storage, a picture rendered with the HTML Canvas element, image rendered with WebGL, AdBlock.
Do you want all of that shared without your knowledge? This is why many users now opt for TOR and a VPN. While not a solution to every privacy concern, it’s better than nothing.
79. Who is Concerned?
Not only are everyday internet users and shoppers concerned about browser fingerprinting, but the people who want your information are too. They are envisioning new, cutting edge ways to track users, even those who use multiple browsers. Hackers are also paying attention.
80. Test Your Own Data?
81. Tor Browser Can’t Protect You
Tor browser is trying to create patches to prevent browser fingerprinting, which shows how difficult maintaining privacy is. However, there is no 100% protection at this point, other than not to use the internet at all, and patches might only be temporarily useful.
82. But, is it Really A Threat?
Yes, browser fingerprinting does not require any consent by the person it runs script about and is, therefore, a privacy risk. If you have a unique combination of devices, details, or attributes, you can then be tracked more efficiently, and your identity determined.
83. New Fingerprinting
The web, like our universe, is expanding, and new APIs are heading toward browsers everywhere, and that means that modern browser fingerprinting is happening and hard to contain and extract. Since finding the perfect defense is hard, we may have to accept that browser fingerprinting is a part of web user’s day to day reality.
You may not think much about the photographs you upload, other than whether or not they showcase the people in the image well. You might think about it more deeply when those casually uploaded photographs are used in ads, without your permission, or stolen by scammers. This is what you need to know.
84. Your Profile is Private, Now What?
If you’ve already made your profile private and know the people on your friend’s list, are you still at risk of privacy violations? Yes. Hackers and strangers can even screenshot and steal your profile picture. They may also be able to see more than you realize when you are tagged in photos (for example, on Facebook) then viewable to friends of friends.
85. Photograph Location
Another privacy risk maybe your location. As surprising as it may seem, location information may be attached to the photograph you take, send, or upload online. This could include GPS/ geotagged locations, which may expose your home address or whereabouts.
86. Unauthorized Recording
Depending on which U.S. state you reside in, it may be illegal for you to record someone without their permission. However, that doesn’t mean it can’t happen to you! If someone uploads copyrighted photographs or videos of you, stolen photos, or recordings taken without your consent, ask them to take them down and send them a cease and desist letter.
Online bullies can harass their victims by exposing private or confidential information about them. The bully might even send people embarrassing photographs you privately shared with them, to humiliate you. In cases such as these, the bullying comments or threats should be screenshotted, reported to the police and the website platform, and the user blocked.
88. Revenge Porn
An unauthorized video or photograph would be bad enough, but revenge porn can be the most humiliating and heartbreaking. In many places, it is now illegal to distribute or post shaming revenge porn, but it (sadly) still happens.
89. Set Up, Sextortion
Sextortion happens when you connect with a user romantically online. Often, it is through photo or video chat, and the other person has (or convinces) you to send them sexual images. Next, they try and blackmail you with those same sexual images. They threaten to expose them to your work or business contacts, friends or family, or even your spouse or the entire web! This is illegal, and a police report should be filed immediately.
90. Deep Fake
Deep Fake technology uses A.I. (artificial intelligence) to create video and photography, which can combine faces or create fake people who look real. Your images could potentially end up on deep fake video or in photographs that make it look as though you’re doing something you didn’t do. This has implications both legally and for common sense.
91. Storage of Your Photographs
Do you store everything in the Cloud or on Microsoft OneDrive? One hacker getting into those accounts could give them access to all of your photographs and everything saved. Do not access those platforms on shared computers or public WiFi.
92. Passwords for Photo Sharing Sites
Since so many of us use photo sharing sites and social media platforms, to truly protect your privacy, make sure to use complex encrypted passwords, different passwords for each platform, and change your password frequently. Also, beware of stored passwords and do not write down or share your password with anyone.
Consider thinking twice before you post your minor’s (children or grand kids) photographs or videos online. Children are usually unaware of how much of their privacy is being jeopardized and that this is building a trackable web search using facial recognition technology. In the future of deep fake technology, you might be glad you kept your kid’s photographs private from the web.
Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments! If you have had your privacy compromised, we would love to hear about it. New tools emerge regularly and tried and true methods will only get you so far. Do you have a favorite app, helpful privacy “hack”, or a tool that’s promoted privacy?
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