An Introduction to Internet Privacy

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What is internet privacy?

Internet privacy involves controlling the information an online user reveals about themselves and determining who has access to that information.

Risks to Internet Privacy

Online hackers depend on the following to extract user information[1] (User-tracking)

  • Internet Service Providers
  • Cookies
  • Data Logging – records the time when users access their computer (recording times when the computer is in use, or which websites are visited)
  • Spyware programs
  • Web bugs
  • Social engineering
  • Phishing
  • Malicious proxy server
  • Search engines
  • On-line social networks

Responsible people protect their personal identification documents such as birth certificates, academic documents, driver’s license etc. They don’t leave them unattended or share them with anyone. This same principle should be applied to the way personal information is shared online in order to restrict others from illegally using the information to impersonate or humiliate you.

Identity theft is on the rise and online hackers who engage in stealing another person’s personal information can use this information to create bank accounts, apply for loans and take advantage of other benefits that you are entitled to.

Steps to protect your privacy:

  1. Check two or three times before you post any information about family or friends online
  2. Adjust your privacy settings on social networking sites to avoid unwanted attention from others
  3. Check the website privacy policy prior to providing your contact information or email address
  4. Maintain at least two email accounts, one for social purposes and another account for professional and educational purposes
  5. Create strong passwords for email accounts you regularly use and keep changing them on a periodic basis to prevent unauthorized access. A strong password has at least eight characters and contains a mix of letters, numbers and symbols
  6. Have different passwords for different online accounts and never write down your passwords in a diary or book or even on a sticky note.
  7. Create two-factor authentication for your email accounts to protect them

Treat your personal information as you would treat your money - don't leave it lying around for others to take.

The internet[2] needs to know how to forget, all it knows is how to remember. That’s not very human
– Andrew Keen, author and expert on digital economy



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