You worry about being hacked, but what about being tracked? Yes, there are hackers and then there are trackers.
Internet tracking namely refers to the user’s browsing habits being followed. But there are ways to make the trackers harder to tag behind you.
- Duhh, a fake name. What an innovative idea! It’s amazing how many people have their real name splashed all over cyberspace. Sure, you should use it for LinkedIn, and also Facebook if you want your childhood classmates to find you. But do you really need to use it for accounts like Disqus that allow you to post comments to articles? If you want to provide feedback to a site, must you use your real full name?
- Use a virtual private network (VPN), as this will mask your IP address and others from tracking you. A VPN will encrypt your activities on open WiFi too. Hotspot Shield is a VPN provider; it’s compatible with iOS, Android, Mac and PC.
- Now you may think, “What’s so bad about being tracked? So what if cookies know I keep clicking on all the Miley Cyrus articles?” Well true, so what.
- But what if cookies also find that you’ve been clicking on an awful lot of articles about heavy weight training? You’ve been doing research for an article you want to write for your latest magazine assignment or maybe your son is interested in weightlifting. What if this timeline coincides with when you’re suing someone for smashing into your car while you were in it, causing back injury? The defendant’s attorney may uncover you’ve been researching heavy weight training, and this doesn’t look good for someone claiming a bad back.
- Before you begin browsing, make sure you’re logged out of social networks. This means finding the “logout” or “sign-out” tab and clicking its options, rather than just closing out the site tab. Otherwise, more tracking.
- Make sure your cookies are cleared before and after browsing.
- If you use Twitter, go to the basic account settings to a box called “Tailor Twitter based on my recent website visits,” and make sure it’s unchecked.
- Disposable e-mail address. You can be tracked with your e-mail address—unless it’s a disposable one. Some services provide addresses that dissipate after a few minutes, while others provide addresses for longer use. Your e-mail carrier may also provide the option of creating additional e-mail addresses by adding characters to your name in the primary e-mail, so that these additional e-mails can be used and forwarded to the original.