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How to Protect Your Privacy Online

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How to Protect Your Privacy Online

How to Protect Your Privacy Online

Internet privacy involves the right or mandate of personal privacy concerning the storing, repurposing, provision to third parties, and displaying of information pertaining to oneself via of the Internet. Internet privacy is a subset of data privacy. Internet privacy is primarily concerned with protecting user information.

Individuals with just an easygoing worry for Internet security require not accomplish add up to obscurity. Web clients may ensure their protection through controlled divulgence of individual data. The disclosure of IP addresses, non-by and by identifiable profiling, and comparative data may wind up adequate exchange offs for the comfort that users could somehow or another lose utilizing the workarounds expected to stifle such points of interest thoroughly. Then again, a few people want considerably more grounded security. In that case, they may try to achieve Internet anonymity to ensure privacy — use of the Internet without giving any third parties the ability to link the Internet activities to personally-identifiable information of the Internet user. In order to keep their information private, people need to be careful with what they submit to and look at online. When filling out forms and buying merchandise, that becomes tracked and because the information was not private, some companies are now sending Internet users spam and advertising on similar products.

There are additionally a few governmental organizations that secure person's protection and anonymity on the Internet, to a point. Avoiding or constraining the use of Social Security numbers online, being watchful and deferential of emails including spam emails, being aware of individual monetary points of interest, making and overseeing solid passwords, and astute web-perusing practices are prescribed, among others.

Posting things on the Internet can be harmful or in danger of malicious attack. Some information posted on the Internet is permanent, depending on the terms of service, and privacy policies of particular services offered online. This can include comments written on blogs, pictures, and Internet sites, such as Facebook and Twitter. It is absorbed into cyberspace and once it is posted, anyone can potentially find it and access it. Some employers may research a potential employee by searching online for the details of their online behaviours, possibly affecting the outcome of the success of the candidate.

Organizations are hired to watch what web destinations individuals visit, and after that utilization the data, for example by sending advertising based on one's browsing history.

Those concerned about Internet privacy often cite a number of privacy risks — events that can compromise privacy — which may be encountered through Internet use. These range from the gathering of statistics on users to more malicious acts such as the spreading of spyware and the exploitation of various forms of bugs (software faults).

Several social networking sites try to protect the personal information of their subscribers. On Facebook, for example, privacy settings are available to all registered users: they can block certain individuals from seeing their profile, they can choose their "friends", and they can limit who has access to one's pictures and videos. Privacy settings are also available on other social networking sites such as Google Plus and Twitter. The user can apply such settings when providing personal information on the internet.

Users can protect themselves by updating virus protection, using security settings, downloading patches, installing a firewall, screening email, shutting down spyware, controlling cookies, using encryption, fending off browser hijackers, and blocking pop-ups. However most people have little idea how to go about doing many of these things. Many businesses hire professionals to take care of these issues, but most individuals can only do their best to learn about all this.

Internet privacy is slowly but surely becoming a threat, as a person's personal data may slip into the wrong hands if passed around through the Web.



HTTP cookies

An HTTP cookie (also called web cookie, Internet cookie, browser cookie, or simply cookie) is a small piece of data sent from a website and stored on the user's computer by the user's web browser while the user is browsing.  It may also be used for user-tracking by storing special usage history data in a cookie, and such cookies—for example, those used by Google Analytics—are called tracking cookies. Cookies are a common concern in the field of Internet privacy. Although website developers most commonly use cookies for legitimate technical purposes, cases of abuse occur.

Quite simply, a cookie is a small text file that is stored by a browser on the user’s machine. Cookies are plain text; they contain no executable code. A web page or server instructs a browser to store this information and then send it back with each subsequent request based on a set of rules. Web servers can then use this information to identify individual users. Most sites requiring a login will typically set a cookie once your credentials have been verified, and you are then free to navigate to all parts of the site so long as that cookie is present and validated. Once again, the cookie just contains data and isn’t harmful in and of itself.

However tracking cookies and especially third-party tracking cookies are commonly used as ways to compile long-term records of individuals' browsing histories — a privacy concern that prompted European and US lawmakers to take action in 2011. Cookies can also have implications for computer forensics.

Since cookies are advertisers' main way of targeting potential customers, and some customers are deleting cookies, some advertisers started to use persistent Flash cookies and zombie cookies, but modern browsers and anti-malware software can now block or detect and remove such cookies.

Cookies do have benefits that many people may not know. One benefit is that for websites that one frequently visits that requires a password, cookies make it so they do not have to sign in every time. A cookie can also track one's preferences to show them websites that might interest them. Cookies are mostly harmless except for third-party cookies. These cookies are not made by the website itself, but by web banner advertising companies. These third-party cookies are so dangerous because they take the same information that regular cookies do, such as browsing habits and frequently visited websites, but then they give out this information to other companies.

Some browsers (such as Mozilla Firefox and Opera) offer the option to clear cookies automatically whenever the user closes the browser. A third option involves allowing cookies in general, but preventing their abuse. There are also a host of wrapper applications that will redirect cookies and cache data to some other location. Concerns exist that the privacy benefits of deleting cookies have been over-stated.






Flash cookies

A Flash cookie, also known as a local shared object, is a text file that is sent by a Web server to a client when the browser requests content supported by Adobe Flash, a popular browser plug-in. Flash cookies are commonly used in website advertisements and videos.

Unlike HTTP cookies which are stored with the browser's files, Flash cookies are stored in a separate Adobe file and may have to be managed and deleted separately through Adobe Flash player settings.  

Many end users are unaware that Flash cookies exist and have no idea that when they delete their browser's HTTP cookies, Flash cookies could remain unaffected and be used to recreate deleted HTTP cookies. The recreation process, which is called respawning, is extremely controversial because it facilitates cross-browser tracking and poses privacy concerns when the use of Flash cookies is not disclosed in a website's privacy policy.

Flash cookies are unlike HTTP cookies in a sense that they are not transferred from the client back to the server. Web browsers read and write these cookies and can track any data by web usage.

FlashCookiesView is a small utility that displays the list of cookie files created by Flash component (Local Shared Object) in your Web browser. For each cookie file, the lower pane of FlashCookiesView displays the content of the file in readable format or as Hex dump. You can also select one or more cookie files, and then copy them to the clipboard, save them to text/html/xml file or delete them.

By right-clicking any Flash content, you can access local storage settings for a particular Website (i.e., YouTube.com), and reduce the local stored content to 0, deleting any data the site has previously planted on your computer and preventing future storage. If you want more control over Flash cookies in general, you'll need to open up the Adobe Settings Manager, accessible either by right-clicking Flash content and clicking "Global Settings," or by navigating directly to your storage settings through the Flash Website . Here you can clear some or all of your Flash cookies manually through the Website Storage panel, or even turn off Flash Storage completely, though the latter may prevent some sites from working properly.

The main problem here—that sites can store and maintain data and tracking cookies through your Flash plug-in, regardless of your browser's privacy settings—is something Adobe is aware of and says will soon be addressed. The latest version of Flash (10.1) already supports the private browsing features of browsers like Firefox and Internet Explorer, which prevent data from being stored locally when activated. Additionally, Adobe says, the company is working with "major browser vendors to develop effective approaches that allow users to control local storage in Flash Player directly from their browser privacy settings"—a fix that could eliminate this problem entirely.


Evercookies

Evercookies, created by Samy Kamkar, are JavaScript-based applications which produce cookies in a web browser that actively "resist" deletion by redundantly copying themselves in different forms on the user's machine (e.g., Flash Local Shared Objects, various HTML5 storage mechanisms, window.name caching, etc.), and resurrecting copies that are missing or expired. Evercookie accomplishes this by storing the cookie data in several types of storage mechanisms that are available on the local browser. It has the ability to store cookies in over ten types of storage mechanisms so that once they are on one's computer they will never be gone. Additionally, if evercookie has found the user has removed any of the types of cookies in question, it recreates them using each mechanism available. Evercookies are one type of zombie cookie. However, modern browsers and anti-malware software can now block or detect and remove such cookies.


Search engines

Search engines have the ability to track a user’s searches. Personal information can be revealed through searches by the user's computer, account, or IP address being linked to the search terms used. Search engines have claimed a necessity to retain such information in order to provide better services, protect against security pressure, and protect against fraud.

Search engines also are able to retain user information, such as location and time spent using the search engine, for up to ninety days. People working in the legal field are allowed to use information collected from these search engine websites. Another function of search engines is the predictability of location. Search engines are able to predict where one's location is currently by locating IP Addresses and geographical locations.

Some solutions to being able to protect user privacy on the Internet can include programs such as "Rapleaf" which is a website that has a search engine that allows users to make all of one's search information and personal information private. Other websites that also give this option to their users are Facebook and Amazon.

Some of the most notable Privacy-focused search-engines are:

  • DuckDuckGo : DuckDuckGo is a meta-search engine that combines the search results from various search engines (excluding Google) and providing some unique services like using search boxes on various websites and providing instant answers out of the box.
  • MetaGer : MetaGer is a meta-search engine (obtains results from various sources) and in Germany by far the most popular safe search engine. All servers are stationed in Germany, a plus considering that the German legislation tends to respect privacy rights better than many other European countries.
  • Ixquick : IxQuick is a Dutch-based meta-search engine (obtains results from various sources). It commits also to the protection of the privacy of its users. Ixquick uses similar safety features as MetaGer.
  • Yacy : Yacy is a decentralized-search engine developed on the basis of a community project, which started in 2005. The search engine follows a slightly different approach to the two previous ones, using a peer-to-peer principle that does not require any stationary and centralized servers. This has its disadvantages but also the simple advantage of greater privacy when surfing due to basically no possibility of hacking.
  • Search Encrypt : Search Encrypt is an Internet search engine that prioritizes maintaining user privacy and avoiding the filter bubble of personalized search results. It differentiates itself from other search engines by using local encryption on searches and delayed history expiration.
  • Tor Browser (The Onion Router) : Tor Browser is a free software that provides access to anonymized network that enables anonymous communication. It directs the internet traffic through multiple relays. This encryption method prevents others from tracking a certain user, thus allowing user's IP address and other personal information to be concealed. Tor over VPN connection moves the privacy and security to the next level. The principles of Tor over VPN usage: At first a client connects to VPN server, which then routes all traffic through a widely known Tor network. In this case, the traffic is firstly encrypted within VPN layer and later sent to the Tor network. If you are going to be using a VPN, make damn sure that your VPN does not keep logs. Another thing to consider however, is using a VPN does hide your internet activity from your internet service provider. It can also hide the fact that you are using TOR, which may flag some suspicion when the feds start asking ISPs to provide data about their users. This may or may not be relevant, since many people use TOR and you can argue there are many legitimate reasons to use TOR and nothing suspicious about TOR. But it is just another factor to arouse suspicion that may or may not come into play and should be considered. If you choose to use TOR over a VPN, the benefits are that you would be again, hiding from your ISP the fact that you are using TOR. Also, your VPN would only be able to see that you are connecting to TOR nodes and that you are sending encrypted data. The VPN would not be able to see what data you are sending over TOR unless they decrypted it, because remember, all information relayed over TOR is encrypted.


Please be aware that we are totally not responsible for what is done and hosted on the Tor network and we do not have any affiliates with them either. Our purpose is to provide the best possible security and privacy for our customers without tracking them or keeping any logs.



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