There are too many people out there who still believe they are not interesting enough to be watched. While this may be true in your daily life, it all changes the second you open your browser.
You would be surprised how many people are interested in your digital life. Marketers, governments, data brokers, ISPs (Internet Service Providers) and cybercriminals are doing everything in their power to gather as much information about your browsing habits as possible. And if as this wasn’t enough, there are also cybercriminals who would love to find out where you live, when you are not at home, and what the password of your banking account is.
The truth is that the web is full of threats; therefore, awareness and extra precaution is crucial for privacy-minded Internet users. Let’s have a look at the top 5 threats to your privacy worth knowing about.
As we spend the majority of our time online, cyberstalking is becoming a serious threat.
Although cyber stalkers are usually driven by the same intentions as real-life stalkers – to harass or terrorize their victims – the digital environment gives them much more freedom to pull off the crime. Discussion forums, instant messengers, chat rooms, email, and of course – social networks, are perfect spots for cyberstalkers to target potential victims of any age.
One of the most popular techniques used by cyberstalkers is catfishing, which starts with a stalker creating a fake social media profile. The next step is to approach the victim with friendly or romantic interest. Once the contact is made, cyberstalkers may trick a naive user into sending them sensitive pictures, revealing their whereabouts, or installing malicious software giving the stalkers access to the user’s webcam.
Software-based keyloggers may slip into your device together with a malicious file. By secretly running in the background, these stealthy trackers record everything you type on your keyboard without you having a clue something is happening.
Therefore, you must be extremely careful when opening emails from senders you don’t know or downloading files from untrusted sources. One wrong click can cost you way more than you may think: your most sensitive data, such as passwords, banking details, and confidential business information may easily end up in the hands of cybercriminals.
- Ultrasonic beacons
The ultrasonic beacon technology is mainly used by marketers to track their customers outside of their browsers. Even though the beacons are inaudible for the human ear, most device microphones can pick up the high-frequency sounds emitted from retail stores or advertisements.
Good news is that when enabled, your microphone should catch only high-frequency sounds, so you can be almost sure no one is listening to your private conversations. Almost. Because no one can guarantee there will be no misuse of such sophisticated technology. Therefore, it’s always recommended to review your app permissions and grant microphone access only to those apps that actually need it for their performance.
- Government surveillance
Even though everyone agrees that surveillance is a threat to human rights, it is growing strong in today’s digital world. It’s unfortunate that government agencies intrude private users’ communications to build massive databases of our online activities, justifying their actions with our own safety.
What’s also worrying is the fact that once your private information gets in the hands of the government, it can be retained for an indefinite time. And the rules about its access and usage can change without us even noticing it.
- WiFi hacking
Hackers have many ways to target their victims, and public WiFi networks are especially convenient to organize their attacks.
Cybercriminals love these hotspots because people love them too: public WiFi is free, it’s fast, and it’s everywhere you want it to be. However, these networks have weak security, which makes them easy to hack.
Once a hacker gets access to your Internet traffic, they can easily eavesdrop on all your communications to spy on your activities, steal your information, or lure you to malicious sites. Therefore, if you don’t want to risk your privacy, you have two options: either never use public WiFi or simply secure your communications with a reliable VPN (Virtual Private Network) service.