The internet is a wonderful tool and has truly paved the way for the information age we currently find ourselves immersed in. In this age, we find ourselves constantly craving to be in the loop and we want that information at the speed of a click. So where do we go to find the information that our heart desires? Well, the Internet of course, but have you ever asked yourself if what you are searching remains private? This is precisely what a Virtual Protection Network (VPN) does, it protects your privacy.
A research report recently published by the Guardian has revealed a shocking discovery by Svea Eckert, a German Journalist, and Andreas Dewes, a German Data Scientist, which shows just how easy it is to reveal Internet users’ identities through their browsing history.
The identity of every Internet user can be easily revealed by following the footprints that they leave online. Secrets and private identities can be exposed – such as someone’s sexual or porn preferences or medications they use. The main offender turned out to be the Web of Trust, a “safe surfing” plug-in.
The research, which involved setting up a fake marketing company and asking hundreds of companies to provide raw browsing data of Internet users, showed that the “anonymous” personas of millions of people could be decoded.
Some users can be easily identified by leaving a trail online, such as their Twitter username on an analytics page for others to find. Analysing 10 URLs visited by a user can be enough to determine their identity.
Large companies, such as Netflix, have already been accused as well as taken to court by customers whose identities had been exposed.
“If Internet users do not use any security tools, such as VPNs, they should realise that when they go online, nothing that they do on the Internet will remain private,” said Marty P. Kamden, CMO of NordVPN.
“Nobody can know when their private browsing history may be exposed and for what reason. That can seriously hurt their personal lives, their careers and even their physical safety – if they are, for example, a political dissident in a country with an authoritarian government.”
“There are a few ways to protect one’s Internet privacy, such as avoiding any kind of plugins and browser extensions, taking note of Terms of Service that might hide intrusion of privacy, and using incognito mode. VPN (Virtual Private Network) can protect browsing history from ISP surveillance. We at NordVPN take users’ privacy very seriously – we don’t keep any information about what anyone does online when they connect to one of VPN servers. We are strictly against any log keeping.”
A VPN encrypts user data through a secure tunnel before accessing the Internet – this protects any browsing data. The only information visible to any third party is that a user is connected to a VPN server and nothing else. All other information is encrypted by the VPN’s security protocol.
Edited By: Dean Workman