Protecting your personal data while online





Recently I have become a bit fed up with advertising companies tracking me across the Internet, the big G and F are definitely culprits. If you are spotting adverts for something you recently searched for on sites you use then you’re being tracked via cookies and other methods from the sites you visit via your browser. Generally speaking most people accept that this is the norm when it comes to using the Internet, the price you pay for access to tools and content. My view is that I want control on who has access to my data, and who has the ability to follow me around. If it was real life you’d call them a stalker, albeit one with an ever-changing advertising board 🙂

The great news is you can hinder their ability to stalk you by using a few simple solutions, and if you want to go completely dark on the Internet a few more extreme measures are available. Here are some suggestions to reduce the ability for companies to track your activity.

Search engine

DuckDuckGo
I’ve used Google as a search engine since the early days, it just works and when trying alternatives I’ve always felt that the results were not as good as Google. That changed not long ago when I tried DuckDuckGo, the results are almost as good, and so good that I use it now as my default search engine. One of the great things about DuckDuckGo is that they are pro privacy and do not set ads that track you. For a deeper dive into why you should consider using DuckDuckGo have a look at this thread on Quora > https://www.quora.com/Why-should-I-use-DuckDuckGo-instead-of-Google

Mobile browsing

Firefox Focus
This is a great little browser for mobile that essentially let’s let click one button to exit the app and it clears out all the data such as cookies saved to your device when browsing so the next time you launch it you’re starting fresh with nothing for advertising companies to track you on.

DuckDuckGo browser
DuckDuckGo also offer a Web browser for IOS and Android users, which is pretty quick, by blocking adverts you save bandwidth and the content loads faster.

Desktop

Ad block extension
Whatever browser you’re using you can easily install an extension to block ads and trackers. Some are better than others, my general rule of thumb is if it has a high level of downloads in comparison to others you’re probably looking at one of the better ones.

Tor browser
Tor is a secure browser that is designed to provide complete anonymity on the Internet. This one is not something you may want to use day to day, as its pretty slow due to how it anonymises your data. It uses something called the onion protocol which essentially hides your identity by passing you through nodes on the Tor network and layering VPNs so your original IP is extremely difficult to find, it also blocks other scripts and mechanisms organisations use to try and profile users. For more detail have a read of https://www.torproject.org/about/overview & https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Onion_routing

Opera browser
I’m a fan of Opera, it has a couple of features you can use. Opera has an ad blocker built in as standard and also a VPN, which is a really nice feature out of the box. The VPN function is great for when you’re using WiFi in a public place to ensure no one is able to snoop on your traffic. https://www.opera.com

Hope you find some of the above useful and you now feel a little more secure and in control of who can access the data you create while online.





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