In this age, everything is connected to everything. Connection has been an essential part of human survival since the dawn of mankind, so it’s a given that we find new and faster ways to inform ourselves, be it for leisure or necessity. Our ancestors used smoke signal and letters to communicate with each other from long distances, but we have it much easier. Today, we have phones and computers and e-mail and so many other wonderful things we can use to talk with friends or even strangers. However, like most everything, connection comes at a price.
I’m sure that, whenever you make a new account in some new social media website, it asks you to accept some “terms and conditions”. I’m also sure that you don’t read them, but if you do, props to you. Essentially, these terms and conditions allow us to use the “free” services of certain sites. I’m quoting “free”, since that’s not at all the case. The way these services are given to you, is through access to your personal information. Companies use the information you provide them so they can sell it to other companies and advertise to you. A good example of this are Facebook and YouTube ads. More often than not, you see a short ad on a YouTube video. These ads are tailored around your watch history, subscriptions and like and dislikes. The same goes for Facebook. Facebook uses your browsing and upload history to tailor ads to what you have “the most interest” towards. The majority of these transactions are safe and perfectly legal. Despite this, it does put your information at risk to hackers.
Another thing to keep in mind is that companies like Google, DO MONITOR YOU. If you go to a restaurant, your phone will sometimes send you a notification, asking you to rate and review the place you just visited. Again, Google using this isn’t harmful or something that should worry you, but other people that use this information to track you and bring harm onto your being, CAN access this technology and with extreme ease.
The internet is a very useful tool and a wonderful world, filled with knowledge and entertainment, but it has it’s dark side as well. There are ways to protect yourself, however. You can use a Virtual Private Network (VPN), you can install an antivirus to prevent malware from entering your computer, etc. You don’t need these to be safe on the internet, but they do grant you more freedom and safety than just taking personal precautions like deleting your credit cards from Amazon or Ebay after you make a purchase. Spoiler alert: They can still steal your credit card information even after you’ve deleted it after making the purchase.Everything you post and add to the internet stays there forever. It’s virtually impossible to completely disappear from the internet after you’ve made an account with your personal details.
Identity theft is a large issue on the web, even if we don’t hear or experience it. LifeLock helps prevent your identity from being stolen on the internet and elsewhere. Sure, they need your credentials and information, but it’s so they can monitor and protect it.
To finish things off, please don’t be scared of the internet, just be careful with it. It’s a double-edged sword that can cut you down with great ease. I’ll leave a couple of links down here so you can have some alternatives to add more security to your web browsing.
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