Online Privacy Breaches, and How to Avoid Them

Many of us consider our computers our personal space. However, that doesn’t stop malicious hackers, jealous exes, watchful employers, and the government from spying on you online. In most cases, your online privacy is compromised via the use of stealth apps such as traffic monitors and keystroke loggers to monitor your online activity. Both individuals and entities are constantly spied on for a variety of reasons.

Today, data is the commercial currency in the business world. Cyber criminals will use every means necessary to breach your security and access your company data. News about data breaches is becoming increasingly common in the corporate world as hackers up their game when it comes to methods of penetrating company networks. Keep reading to find out how malicious parties and authorities spy on you and your business.

Malicious software. One of the most common methods hackers use to access company data is spying i.e. computer and email monitoring through the use of malicious software. If your computer is infected with malicious software, someone is probably watching your online activity. There are several types of malicious software that could be used to spy on you. These include keyloggers, adware and spyware.

Keyloggers record your keystrokes and use the data to steal private information such as passwords and credit card numbers. Adware tracks your online traffic and uses the data to show you targeted ads based on your browser history. Spyware refers to any computer program that allows unauthorized persons to secretly monitor and gather data about your computer use.

Spyware has made it extremely easy for perpetrators to monitor, track, stalk, and harass their victims. This type of software keeps track of everything you do on your computer. A report containing all websites visited, documents printed, etc. is sent to the person spying on you. Spyware runs in stealth mode and is very difficult to detect and remove once installed on your computer.

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Government surveillance. Today, threats to online privacy are increasingly coming from government surveillance apparatus. Authorities such as the National Security Agency often use national security to justify the intrusion upon our private communication. Government agencies amass vast databases of online traffic as well a cell phone data and use it to index suspicious activities based on the vaguest of standards.

The easiest way for the government to eavesdrop on its citizens is to hack your computer; that’s what modern surveillance is all about. If you are suspected of being a terrorist or something like that, the government will break into your computer and install malicious software such as spyware and use it to exfiltrate data. At some point in recent history, all governments the world’s leading democracies have been accused of spying on their citizens.

Third-party cookies. Most commercial websites claim to use browser cookies to improve user experience. Browser cookies contain information that can be used to identify your computer. Browser cookies can be used by malicious parties to track your online activity and use the data to show targeted ads. Most would consider the use of browser cookies for these purposes a violation of the user’s online privacy.

How to Avoid Being Spied On

There are several measures you can take to keep the government and other malicious parties from spying on you. For starters, you can install VPN (Virtual Private Network) software on your computer to encrypt your online traffic. Even if someone intercepts your internet traffic, they won’t be able to access the content. Install antivirus software and always ensure it’s up to date to protect your computer network from hackers and malicious software. Last but not least, disable third-party cookies on your internet browser to keep advertisers off your radar.

Jack Warner

Jack Warner
Jack Warner is a cybersecurity expert with years of experience at TechWarn, a digital agency to world-class cybersecurity companies.

Jack Warner

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