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How to Surf the Web Safely and Keep Your Data Private

Posted In Security - By Techtiplib on Saturday, January 19th, 2019 With No Comments »

We live in a time when a big part of our daily lives depends on using the internet. With so many people spending hours online every day, certain risks that were absent in the past have appeared. The majority of these risks are related to our privacy, which can now be easily invaded by hackers, governments and private companies all looking to capitalize on knowing more about us than we would like them to.

Data Protection Tips for Whistleblowers and Witnesses of Organized Crime

While many websites out there such as Google, Facebook and Instagram collect our private information only with our consent, there are many others that collect data using spyware, malware and other types of unauthorized software that are designed to steal personal information and use it in many different ways.

If you are the kind of person who values their privacy, there are steps you can take to ensure your safety while browsing the internet. These methods include ways to protect yourself from both authorized and unauthorized collection of your private data online. This article explores these methods and brings you a short rundown on how to keep safe and anonymous while browsing the web.

Here is Why You Should Care About Your Data Privacy

Surfing the internet may seem safe enough to an average user, but the fact is that there are quite a few risks related to it. 73% of all websites track user data and the collected data is used by brands to improve their advertising practices through more precise targeting. However, aside from brands that use your data for marketing, there are other players involved. Some of these may be looking to use your data for blackmail or straight up theft.

The recent GDPR laws (General Data Protection Regulation) have changed the way in which websites can legally collect data by forcing sites to ask for permission before collecting data. While legitimate businesses have complied with the GDPR rules, hackers continue to use spyware and other methods to collect personal data without permission.

Still, the breach of personal data attributes like your name, email, address, etc. is not the biggest threat you can face on the web. Your largest concern might be theft of your financial data, which can be executed through malware such as Trojan.PWS.Panda.122 or alike. The virus comes together with infected files or email newsletters, reading typed data and transmitting it to hackers, who eventually take control over your credit card or even banking account.

However, it’s not the only way to hand over your financial data to malicious users. Some websites on which you have to deal with money may steal your financial data after your consent. Great examples of these are fraudulent crypto trading websites or online casinos that may not only abuse your data, but don’t pay your earned money back.

If you ever going to get involved in such activities, it’s important to study a list of reliable crypto exchanges or to learn how to choose an online casino that won’t let you down, as you never know at first glance whether the website you visit is scam or not. The same goes for online shopping, sports betting, and other platforms where you need to put money in your account.

The Effect of GDPR on Personal Data Usage

In 2016, the leading European lawmakers approved the GDPR, a new law pertaining to data collection on the internet. The law made it so that businesses could only collect data from users who were willing to share. Mainly, websites now have to ask before putting cookies into your devices, which is one of the main methods in which online businesses track their users.

GDPR impacted pretty much all the companies that operate in Europe or target European audience, which means more or less all the websites on the internet. Overall, GDPR does its job well,  as the number of trackers decreased. On average, smaller websites have collected between 18 and 31% less user information since GDPR was introduced, which means that the law did result in more user anonymity in general.

However, internet giants such as Google actually benefited from GDPR as their competitors were more affected than they were. Google’s overall reach was increased ever so slightly, bringing into question if GDPR actually worked or if it only worked to hamper small businesses at the expense of internet behemoths like Google.

5 Tips to Stay Safe on the Web

While GDPR did force websites to ask for your permission in sharing data, this still does not mean you are 100% protected while browsing the internet, especially when it comes to foul play and malicious parties looking to get their hands on your data regardless of the law. Here are a few major tips to keep in mind if you want to increase your data security while browsing the net:

  1. Use a safe internet browser

Internet browsers are your main line of defence against data poachers. Using an internet browser like Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome will significantly decrease the odds of your device being penetrated by malware as these browsers use special protection technologies designed to keep you safe from such attacks.

  1. Use a password manager

Today, users often utilize the autofill option, thus saving passwords required for login into local or cloud memory. This is a major security risk and you should never do it. Using password managers instead keeps your passwords much better protected as such programs use advanced encryption algorithms which are much harder to crack. This way, your sensitive information will be kept as safe as possible.

  1. Only visit https websites

Looking at the website’s address bar can tell you a lot about it in terms of security. Only websites whose address starts with https are truly safe to browse, as this means that all data between you and the site is encrypted. If you only use https sites, your general security is greatly increased.

  1. Don’t open strange emails from unknown sources

Phishing via email was one of the initially available ways it was done and it is still present to this day. If you get an email from an unknown source and you have no idea what it is, it is best not to open it at all. Especially make sure you don’t download any attachments from such emails, no matter what they promise.

  1. Use a VPN.

Using a virtual private network is one of the ultimate ways to hide your presence on the internet. A VPN will hide your IP address and keep your browsing anonymous to any potential data poachers. Using a VPN may be a bit extreme, but it helps to keep your data safe better than any other means.

Whether we like it or not, much of our daily life is spent online, and it has never been more important to protect yourself online. . With so many legal and illegal ways in which our privacy is being infiltrated on the internet, knowing how to keep safe can be a real lifesaver. We hope that our tips will help you keep your most intimate information away from any prying eyes and enjoy hassle-free internet browsing in the future.

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