The digital world introduced us to its many benefits and before we could know, it introduced another hand to take from us. Since 2010, many people and companies have suffered a heavy blow as a result of their private details being unveiled to the world. Some of the common incidences include Tyler Clementi (leaked homosexuality video that made him commit suicide), Karen Owen (leaked thesis of her sexual encounters) and all the Foursquare individuals whose location details were known to a programmer.
Have you ever wondered why some adverts that pop up on your browser when you visit some sites are so unique to your interests? Do you think its coincidence? It’s not. Advertisers will do anything including abusing your privacy just to advertise their products to you. They monitor your social media behavior or find ways to get your email to send invites or bug you with ads.
Here are the most common ways your personal information may get into the hands of advertisers, cyber bullies and other unwanted parties.
- Data scrapping-this involvers tracking one’s online activities and harvesting their personal information from their posts and job websites
- Data leaks from Facebook apps-it’s been reported that certain Facebook apps like FarmVille, once given access, they leak your information to internet companies without your knowledge.
- Online social tracking-cookies are small files that remain behind when you browse and will be used to recognize you when you visit a certain site. They help advertisers tailor ads that suite your interests.
To prevent your personal details from being shared on the internet, or know what to do whenever your account has been hacked, you need to read some of the frequently asked questions and answers about internet privacy. They provide in-depth knowledge that you can use to bar anyone from spamming or impersonating you.
Frequently asked questions and answers about internet privacy
- What should I do if my account has been hacked?
If your account has been hacked, the hacker may use your details for financial gain or post unusual content to taint your good name. If your password wasn’t changed, you can log in to your account and change the password to lock the hacker out. If the password was changed, you will need to contact customer support and report the issue. You will be required to provide some form of verification upon which your account will be restored.
- I killed my Facebook account a few days ago as the risks were too high. Can the account’s details be traced upon investigation?
If investigation happens before two weeks are due from the day you closed your account, all your details will be unearthed. Facebook takes about two weeks to remove your details from their servers. During this duration, you are advised not to log in into your account using any other Facebook-supported app.
- I’m I right to worry about this continued trend where large corporations are storing every aspect of our lives as data?
Yes, you are right to be concerned. There have been past incidences where broke companies sold their clients secrets for monetary returns. Currently, even financially stable companies exchange the customer data for other deals. Nevertheless, not all companies do that.
- What risks can I face as an internet user?
There are plenty of risks you can face as an internet user. The common ones include spamming, cyberbullying, inaccurate or inappropriate content (like pornography or hateful statements), fraudulent or deceptive commerce from malicious sites.
- How do crooks find their victims on the internet?
Crooks and scammers spend many days and nights devising new methods to find their victims. The common methods you need to watch out for include:
- Phishing- this method tricks individuals into revealing their personal information through the use of an email that is made to look like it comes from a reputable company.
- Spamming- spams consist of unwelcome emails that prompt one to make a payment for certain goods. Once you make the payment, you won’t hear from them again.
- Malicious websites-these are websites that promise to deliver you breaking news or job alerts.
- Malware-this is a malicious software that can be planted on your computer remotely. Its purpose may be to delete, steal or damage your files.
- Insecure transactions- if you transact through insecure platforms or give your credit card info to companies that don’t have secure systems can result in such info falling into the hands of the crooks.
- Social networking- revealing a lot of details about your personal life can compromise your privacy. Also, don’t arrange to meet a stranger you just met on social media unless you know a lot about them too.
- Is there a way I can avoid malicious websites?
Yes, there is a way. Never click, copy or paste any link that you received from people or companies you don’t know. To know if the URL is legit, type (do not copy) the last segment ending with .net or .com in your browser and click those that seem credible.
- What makes the strongest password?
The strongest password consists of lower and upper case letters, numbers and special characters. The Password should not contain any of the main names used to open the account and should have at least eight characters.
- What’s a firewall
A firewall is a computer-generated barrier between your PC and the internet. All the stuff coming into your computer or leaving it must be inspected by the firewall. Anything that fails to meet the conditions in place is instantly blocked.
- How do online entrepreneurs get hold of my information?
If you filled out a form or participated in a contest, you gave out your details which they can decide to use for marketing purposes or sell it to another company. Most of the free games some websites allow you to enjoy come after you have provided them with your personal info in exchange. It’s that easy.
- Can I avoid online marketers?
Sure you can. Just provide very little information about yourself and steer clear from freebies giving firms that demand your private info in exchange.