Online privacy & security

Internet-SecurityI mentioned in an earlier post about the whole thing to stay anonymous on the Internet. I had to learn a lot along the way, and sometimes I think I know more than I care to about the whole subject. But it is what it is.

I did decide to make this post about online privacy and security because I know that a lot of my friends don’t have the time or the patience to find out about it. So maybe this will help them some.

I think back about 5 years and while there were the creeps that showed up on posts and comments, the average poster wasn’t too worried about the hackers and data thieves because that was for corporations and government agencies to worry about. I think it’s hilarious that someone was spying on the American government and corporations while they were spying on us. Maybe they should take care of their own affairs first before sticking their faces in our business.

Anyway, now everyone has to worry about everyone else when trying to keep their identity safe. If you are going down this road, then you want to do it as cheap as possible because you might be wasting your money getting protection or buying anonymity that you don’t need.

I think history shows that when it comes to basic security, Apple has a much better record than Windows. But if you’re stuck with Windows, you need to get some good quality anti-virus software. Before you go out and buy anything, check with your Internet provider because they might supply it as a free download and it is just as good as what you buy off the shelf. Just make sure to keep it up to date.

It doesn’t matter if you are an Apple or Windows user; a VPN is well worth the price. VPN stands for Virtual Private Network, and what it does is to run your location through 100 other servers, making it really hard to find out your connection address or IP address as the techies call it.

Not all the threats to invade your anonymity and privacy come from those we think of as bad guys. If you have a Gmail account or use Google+ there is a lot of information being collected about you through cookies. Google cookies are everywhere on your computer. Check it out and find out for yourself. From what I read, the email messages and attachments become the property of Google after 6 months, so they can sell the information to whoever is willing to pay for it. That personal message you went to your mom has your email address, her email address, and the subject matter of whatever you discussed. You don’t get a free email address and gigabytes of storage for free. It’s an illusion.

Google is an easy target, but many of the free email boxes such as Yahoo are also collecting your personal information.

The answer I found is to see if there are email boxes you can get that will guarantee the privacy of your information because you are paying for it. Just because you pay for an email box does not mean your privacy is guaranteed, so check it out first. Paying for a web hosting service that has email boxes available is another route you may want to take to ensure your privacy.

Before I end this post, I want you to know that many browsers have what they call “private browsing” which is a special browser window that does not store cookies or your browsing history on your computer. But your Internet service provider still keeps a record, so the reality is the private browser window only makes you feel safe and secure.

I know, it’s a pain. Who can you trust anymore to give you an anonymous presence on the Internet?