Tips for online security and privacy

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Online Security and Privacy TellMeHow

If you think people are the only ones embroiled in security and privacy issues online, then you need to think twice. Governments, private firms, and digital companies are also caught in the quagmire. Interestingly, not all parties mentioned appear to have the same interests. While citizens want to protect their personal life and privacy on the internet, that is not true for governments. Governments, on the other hand, want information from their citizens at all cost. They are willing to break any barriers that impede them from getting information from their citizens.

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In the recent past, mass surveillance by governments has rattled feathers amongst individuals and companies. Abuse of personal data and regulations that allow the government to snoop on its citizens has made citizens more cautious on the extent they would want to share their data. With the fear that governments may continue with this unwanted surveillance on digital data, people are in a rush to keep their data anonymous online. The popular software to keep you private online is the VPN. VPN stands for a Virtual Private Network. Citizens who feel their online browsing is insecure are free to use VPNs to keep their data private.

So, is VPN a necessity?

is VPN a necessity TellMeHow

Virtual Private Networks were once a technical jargon to many but not today. VPN service providers have now made it easier for people to use VPNs. They are now easier to operate and only download clicks away into your Mac or iPhone. In fact, the 10 best VPNs for Mac are already available in the market.

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Public Wi-Fi

 

public wifi TellmeHow

If using a public Wi-Fi, let’s say at a Coffee shop, your personal data online is visible to the Wi-Fi source. With your data exposed online, you could possibly fall victim to cybercriminal activities. A nearby cybercriminal such as a hacker using the same Coffee shop Wi-Fi could get access to your bank login details if doing a financial transaction online. He/she may siphon funds out of your personal bank account to other unknown accounts.  

Hackers are also known for creating illegitimate web copies of original e-commerce websites. This dupes site visitors into online fraud. Services given freely always provide one with a sigh of relief considering you won’t be using any bucks to access the service. If traveling, you may be lucky to access a free Wi-Fi service at the airport. If you log into an online shopping website and make a payment using the free Wi-Fi, you could as well have fallen victim to the fraud antics of any hackers nearby. The illegitimate web copy gives them a direct entry to accessing your personal information including your password and credit card details.

All devices connecting to the internet have a standardized address called the IP or Internet Protocol. These Internet protocols are provided by your Internet service provider. Your ISP has got your personal information such as your location, browsing history and sites you visit often. If you do not want your information exposed to that extent, VPN software encrypts your data making it invisible to your ISP and the public Wi-Fi service you are using. This means that your data first goes to a VPN server before going to your online destination. The website you access sees your data as coming from a VPN server and a different location. Your true location and computer’s IP is kept anonymous.

Watching Netflix

watching netflix tellmehow

Entertainment diehards always do not want to miss out on the next episode of the latest hottest movie airing on their screens. Thanks to the now international giant online streaming service, Netflix, TV and movie consumers can now stream online. Netflix streams in more than 130 countries. However, this has also been a tall order for the entertainment company as it had to face complex legal jurisdictions and agreements.  Television stations in some countries retain the rights to air certain programmes. That means Netflix can’t air the same programme on their platform.

Also, some countries have banned the use of online streaming services. Netflix can’t stream in such countries because of locational filters. So, if you happen to be after a screenplay that is rendered illegitimate in your country, a VPN helps you bypass such locational filters by making you appear as a user in a country where the show is legitimate.

Torrenting

Torrenting is sharing files or transferring data over the internet. Torrenting should not be confused with downloading. Downloading is simply clicking on the download button of the file you want to be downloaded and the file comes into your computer or phone from a single server. Different from downloading, torrenting allows you to take data that is broken into pieces called packets in a server but distributed over a large network of computers.

When torrenting, this network of computers also has access to and are torrenting a slightly different part of the file you are torrenting. No one computer on the network can download the same file as another computer at the same time, but alternate by downloading different packets amongst different computers.

Torrenting is legally okay except when you are transferring files that you have no rights to. Commonly known as pirating or the infringement of one’s copyright, this illegal activity is said to cost the U.S government more than $200billion dollar annually. With such staggering figures, several countries have barred their citizens from accessing files that allow sharing of files such as Pirate Bay. If found to be using such like banned sites or infringing on one’s copyright this could land you in jail.

However, using a VPN is the best bet for you in circumventing such lawsuits. Use a VPN that masks your torrenting activities including your download and uploading trail on torrenting sites. Some of the best VPNs for torrenting include VyprVPN, PIA and Express VPN.

Click Fraud

Invalid clicks is a problem for paid click advertisers so Google has a system that detects fraudulent clicks. Google has no issue with limited invalid clicks on your website. It has some automatic systems to detect and delete them at the end of day or month. It is easy to create Adsense accounts but a few people know how to protect them.

click-fraud-stats

infographic by Website Promoter.

Conclusion

The necessity of VPNs in our lives today cannot be understated. Authoritarian regimes have flexed their muscles against citizens, abusing their private data and cutting off internet connection. International streaming services like Netflix encounter locational filters in some areas they want to operate affecting users. Torrenting has been banned in some sites for obvious reasons. Also, accessing the internet via a public Wi-Fi puts you at risk of cybercrime. Use a VPN to keep you safe online and also override such barriers.

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