As far as our daily activities are concerned, much of what we used to do offline (or in real life) like shopping, paying bills, watching TV and movies have intuitively transitioned their way to an online form. So, now that much of what we do in life has been associated with the internet, how sure are you about online security and privacy?
With Silicon Valley’s conquest for data outsourcing and the consequences of the Cambridge Analytica Facebook scandal, consumers are starting to think twice about the internet’s foundation for information security and online privacy. And while this is the Internet we are talking about where misinformation is treated as fact and fraudulent activities abound, one could not help but wonder if data security and online privacy still exist (if they did at all).
In this post we break down the list of the five biggest online privacy myths you may not have heard of yet:
1. Going Incognito Hides Your Browsing Activities
As you may have known by now, almost all of the popular web browsers including Chrome, Firefox, and Safari, have private browsing features. But as it is, many are still clueless as to what this private browsing feature does. To put it simply, when you go on private browsing mode, your browser provides a clean slate for every new session you have on this mode. Also, your browser will wipe out your browsing history from your device for that session once you hit the close button.
Going incognito or using the private browsing mode, however, neither conceals your activities from your internet service provider (ISP) nor does it mask your IP address. As such, your activities on the internet are still very much available to third parties, namely your ISP and the websites you visit. If you happen to share any sensitive information online, these third parties will most likely have access to your personal and privileged information, even without your consent.
If you can see the bigger picture now, going incognito or relying on your computer’s built-in security tools cannot block any snooping or tracking activities coming from the web. So, instead of going on private browsing mode, consider optimizing your browser features as well as using an alternative web browser. And for good measure, sign up with a VPN such as VPN Surf to encrypt your data traffic and keep your sensitive information from prying eyes.
2. Privacy Only Matters to those Who Have Something to Hide
According to the United Nations (UN), privacy is considered a human right. Everyone values their privacy in one way or another. It is for this reason that we keep our passwords only to ourselves, apply security passcodes to our phones and gadgets, and lock the doors of our cars and houses. More than hiding, everyone has something they want to protect. Therefore, the statement, “If you’ve got nothing to hide, there’s nothing to worry about” does not bear much weight in the sense of ensuring one’s privacy.
Furthermore, valuing your privacy, space, data, and information is not the same as or related at all to engaging in illegal or illicit activity. As data could be treated in such a way that could work for or against you, if other people have any sort of access to your data, then you could be associated with someone who does engage in such activities, even if you do not.
3. Effective Encryption is Only Doable for Tech Experts
Many people fear technology because they think that they have to be a tech whiz to understand things like internet security, privacy protocols, and such when in fact, they do not. The fact that you have access to this information and are reading this right now, underscores the point that systems and software become much easier to use as their underlying technology has become more complex.
Whatever your background on technology is or level of understanding about it, you have the ability and the right to take charge of your personal privacy. In this day and age, there are plenty of available tools you can use to secure your privacy – and for most of us who use smartphones, these tools come in the form of mobile applications. There are still so many more options available out there, but if you’re just a novice or lack the time to learn about these things, a simple, one-click security program can help you lay out the foundations you need for data security.
So as not to be overwhelmed from the many app choices out there, you can pick a VPN such as VPN Surf for starters. VPN Surf allows you to encrypt your data traffic and network connection, even if you have zero knowledge about this technology at all. By simply signing up and ticking the best available features and servers recommended for you, your privacy and data security will be easily ensured.
4. The Cheapest Security Tools Will Do
Nothing comes free anymore. Apparently, this hard truth greatly applies all the more to practical services such as data privacy and security. Even free services cost you something; while some merely sell ad space, others sell your online data to third parties. For those who may care less, there’s actually a very thin line between the two. That being the case, it doesn’t mean that paid data security services should be expensive either. however, you should at least expect to pay some kind of service premium to avail of decent protection.
The advantages of getting paid privacy go beyond the benefits and features they advertise. If you find and choose free (trial) versions of an app or service available in the market, then chances are – you will not get the full range of benefits or features of the paid version. You can’t really expect much from half-baked services because all they do is to give you a false sense of security and protection.
5. Public Wi-Fi Keeps Your Activity Anonymous
With the trend of businesses and establishments taking advantage of the use of public Wi-Fi, accessibility and connectivity have become common services anyone can avail nowadays even outside the comforts of their homes. However, connecting to a public Wi-Fi does not ensure one’s anonymity.
Some people may think that public networks can isolate individual activity on the Internet. And while there is some grain of truth in that, logging onto a public network such as a public Wi-Fi hotspot collects information of those within the network. And the fact that the network is considered “public”, you can also think that information sent to the network can be shared among those within that network. If you’re not careful enough, expert hackers can easily infiltrate public networks and take advantage of all the users’ data and traffic.
And while it sounds unreliable, no one can contest the convenience which public networks offer, especially for people on-the-go and those who are in dire need of internet access. For safe measure, remember to connect to a VPN first before you connect to public networks. Doing so will ensure your anonymity and security within the network by virtue of IP masking.
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