Did you know that your ISP can see what you do while you’re online? From making purchases to looking up medical conditions, your actions create a digital trail of data that can paint a very detailed picture of you.
Online privacy is not something to be taken lightly.1 Although most of the population worldwide use the internet every day and are aware of the dangers surrounding it, users still neglect how their data is being dealt with online.
Remember the last time you used public Wi-Fi for performing online transaction? Or when you entered your sensitive data using a hotel Wi-Fi? You may think nothing will go wrong. But, all your online activities can be tracked down by hackers or even the ISPs, without proper protection.
The Internet Service Providers (ISPs) can see what you do while you’re spending time on their network. From making online purchases to looking up medical conditions or arranging vacations, your actions create a digital trail of data that can paint a very detailed picture of you.
ISPs see countless activity-based information about you, such as online searches, websites you visit, articles you read, emails and messages you exchange, files that you download, and more. In addition to viewing that data, Internet service providers can also collect it and even sell it to a third party for profit.
Apart from ISPs, cybercriminals can also peek into your online activities by hacking your devices or the internet server you’re using. Or worse, they could even extract your personal data, including your financial details, passwords, personally identifiable information, emails, sensitive pictures and videos, etc.
You probably don’t want any strangers to get access to such information, let alone hackers, who could use them as a weapon against you for blackmailing, selling the data on the dark web, and other various life wreaking actions.
The best way to protect your privacy online is to use a virtual private network (VPN). VPNs give you online privacy and anonymity by creating a more secure and private network from any Internet connection you access, whether it is your home Wi-Fi or a public Wi-Fi hotspot.2
VPN software sets up an encrypted data connection between your computer and a remote server, similar to a private tunnel that blocks snooping eyes from hijacking the data you exchange.
Encryption is a way of protecting personal data so that it cannot be read by anyone. It scrambles your information which can only be accessed by using the encryption key. As a result, this blocks any unauthorized attempts by companies, ISPs, hackers, or other threats from accessing your data.
VPNs also hide your IP address so that no one can keep an eye on your online activities. Also, they change your country or city to some other place than your actual location, preventing any cybercriminals or ill-intended individuals from tracking you down.
In addition to a VPN protection, there are other ways you can add even more layers of security to protect your online privacy:
Use HTTPS when browsing online
Besides from enabling a VPN to protect your online activity, always make sure you are visiting secure websites. Just not browsing infectious or tweaked sites can save a lot of your private data.
Some of the common signs of counterfeited websites can be noticed pretty easily. First, you should always check for HTTPS at the beginning of the domain name of the site you’re visiting. The “S” at the end implies “Secured”, meaning that there is an extra layer of security using encryption within the browser.
A fraudulent site will only have HTTP in the front. Other signs can also be checked in the domain name, such as spelling mistakes, odd phrasings, etc. Many hackers mimic famous brands to lure innocent users into entering their sensitive data into the website.
For example, a snoop might create a website with the domain “faceb00k.com”, similar to the original brand domain “facebook.com”. Indications like these are a clear sign that your privacy will be at stake when visiting such sites.
So, always research the website before visiting them and make sure that they’re legitimate and not created by cybercriminals.
Be cautious before entering your data online
As mentioned earlier, not all websites are safe and secured. When you enter your personal information on counterfeited sites, it could fall into the wrong hands. Cyberthieves are always lurking around to get a hold of your data and misuse it.
A simple piece of info about you, even as simple as email, can be used as a means to trick you into falling for their trap. Hackers can send malicious links to your emails disguised as legitimate individuals or simply find other info using hints in your address.
Therefore, you should always be more careful while providing your personal info online and check for similar signs on websites addressed previously.
Enable private browsing
Private browsing is a mode you can use in most browsers that blocks the standard data collecting features built into most browsers. You can find this feature labelled as the Incognito Browser.
In this mode, all your browsing activities will be hidden or just aren't saved on your computer or the browser. This includes things like cookies, search history, and stored account log-in credentials.
Use Norton Secure VPN
The Norton Secure VPN helps hide all of your online information, including your location, when you access the Internet. When you use Norton Secure VPN, your data is scrambled using the most powerful encryption method so that your Internet service provider can see only the amount of traffic passing through their servers and not the encrypted data.
When you use the internet daily, it’s important that you also consider protecting your online data. Preventing others from accessing your information helps you defend your online privacy, which should not be neglected in any way. So, apply VPN to all your devices and follow other safety practices when you go browsing the web.
Norton empowers people and families around the world to feel safer in their digital lives
Editorial note: Our articles provide educational information for you. Our offerings may not cover or protect against every type of crime, fraud, or threat we write about. Our goal is to increase awareness about Cyber Safety. Please review complete Terms during enrollment or setup. Remember that no one can prevent all identity theft or cybercrime, and that LifeLock does not monitor all transactions at all businesses. The Norton and LifeLock brands are part of Gen Digital Inc.