Websites monitor our clicks, keystrokes, and pretty much everything else we do online.
Have you ever wondered why, after following a story, or liking an item, you are immediately flooded with similar adverts no matter which website you visit?
We are being watched online and it’s no secret.
Some of the most popular websites use monitoring software to keep track of everything you do on their sites. Though the developers claim that this is for performance diagnostics, the software can mine other information that isn’t needed by these developers. And this third-party software has access to your personal information and may harvest and store it.
In 2017, a group of researchers from Princeton University reported that the
“collection of page content by third-party replay scripts may cause sensitive information such as medical conditions, credit card details and other personal information to leak and expose users to identity theft, online scams and other unwanted behavior.”
What can be done to protect our online privacy?
Add these tips into your cyber wellness arsenal to keep your digital space safe:
- Empty cache and delete cookies and web browsing history.
- To keep your visited pages private, use your browser’s private mode. It will not store cookies, passwords, and other information. However, it does not completely protect your online privacy. You can still be watched online because it does not conceal your IP address and does not render you invisible to anyone else on the same network.
- Select your browser wisely as each browser has its own approach to privacy.
- Use a private search engine like DuckDuckGo. Search queries on Google, Bing, or Yahoo will be stored in these companies’ archives.
- Block web trackers. AdBlock is a good browser extension for preventing web trackers from monitoring your online activities.
- Use a VPN connection. The VPN server substitutes its own IP addresses which changes with each connection for yours so that websites cannot track your location or link your actions to accounts (as long as you are not logged in to them). VPNs also encrypt transmitted data preventing your ISP from monitoring your online activities. But a VPN will not provide total protection against information harvesting by social networks, search engines, and online trackers.
Furthermore, Charleen Caban, Territory Channel Manager for the Philippines at Kaspersky, said
“Every time we use the internet, the websites that we go to capture everything we type, mouse over, or click on. Our private information is accessed, analyzed, and used by many organizations to create a profile on each of us and our online activity. Fortunately, it’s not a completely helpless situation though. We can actually have control over our data,”
So aside from the digital hygiene tips and online privacy tools that we have suggested, you can also try Kaspersky’s KTS or Kaspersky Total Security. Apart from automatically making backups of your files, included in the KTS is the Safe Money feature that protects your payment data with bank-grade encryption by establishing a secure container within your browser to automatically block your financial transactions from phishing attacks that can steal your identity or your money.
It’s about time we take our online privacy seriously.