online privacy threat

In an increasingly interconnected age, and with more and more enterprises jumping onto the Internet of Things bandwagon, there is so much more of our data going online than we could have imagined 20 years ago. The convenience of having data and information readily available online is of course indisputable – with the press of a button, you can review your expenses for the past year and look at automatically generated spending reports, or check whether your baby is still asleep. But there is also an online privacy threat that comes with this convenience. Whether it’s the Wikileaks issue or a story about your friend whose mobile devices got hacked into, there are many more catalysts for us to increase our internet security. We list down a few key areas in which our online privacy can easily be targeted in 2019.

Web Browsers

You may not be aware of this, but web browsers share a lot of data with the websites that you visit. They do so primarily to load the sites faster and format them correctly for your device, but the information can be dangerous when used incorrectly. Some of the data they collect include your IP address, the web browser type and version, the device used, device display resolution, cookie settings, location and time zone, battery level of device, and even your mouse or or cursor movements and clicks. Often, websites are primed to give the end user a specific experience based on this information, which is collected in a manner known as browser fingerprinting, often used to send targeted ads to you. One positive effect of browser fingerprinting is to prevent fraud-based crimes. On the other hand, such data may also be able to create a uniquely identifiable identity which may be able to be tied to yourself personally.

Search Engines

Search engines collect not only your search information, but things like your IP address, time and date of your visit, and more. If you use certain applications, they also capture and store data for voice recognition, face recognition, as well as your favourite videos, shopping items, and daily schedule. To make matters worse, search engines are required to hand over information about you if requested by a court or government agency. There have been many cases whereby people’s search histories were used against them in a court of law.

Non-Secure Websites

Secure websites use the HTTPS protocol to protect the exchange of data between your browser and the website. This is a reliable way to safeguard against attackers gaining access to your data during the transmission. Non-secure websites, while they can still be accessed, are not places you would trust to put credit card information, passwords or other sensitive data.

Our online privacy is becoming more easily compromised the more we use the internet, and the more reliant we become on our searching for information on various websites through web browsers. Implementing security measures to get between potential attackers and our precious data may become a priority for you or your company, and one effective way to increase security online is by using a proxy server as an extra layer of security. Read more about the security benefits of using a proxy server, and how you can implement it for yourself using Proxy Key.