We all know that websites monitor our activities when we browse the internet. Lots of times, we have had the experience of looking for a product online and then having ads for the same kind of product follow us around for days or even weeks. What may need to be clarified is what data websites get, why they do this, and how they really track you.
This post answers some of those questions about web tracking and explains how you can protect your online identity.
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Whether you are visiting a website or scrolling through social media, all information is obtained and used to make your digital profile. The following are the most common user data that sites collect:
- IP Addresses – A user’s Internet Protocol (IP) address is the most common type of information a site collects. It’s a unique number that identifies the device of a user. When visitors click through the site’s pages, IP addresses are monitored and recorded. Such information is used to create targeted campaigns and for security purposes.
- Hardware & Software Details – When you visit a website, the browser sends all information to the site asking for it, including the device you are using. It also reports details regarding your OS, processor, GPU, and more. This information could be used to monitor a specific machine.
- Autofill Data – When a user visits a new site and fills out an online form, their browser saves that information and automatically fills in data like name, address, city, number, and email ID, in the future. Though it’s a convenient feature, personally identifiable information could be harmful in the wrong hands.
- Tracking Pixels – It’s an image file containing code that can monitor your activities if you have visited a site or opened an email. On performing either of these two actions, the code executes and tracks the user’s activity. Such data is helpful for marketers to analyze visitor behavior and optimize their marketing plans accordingly.
In this day and age, more and more websites are tracking their users’ activities to use for a multitude of reasons. It’s common for cybercriminals to discover a user’s approximate location or even actual physical address via their IP address. Plus, many regions impose strict censorship protocols on the web to restrict people from accessing their content.
Not only that, many brands track your online activities and often sell them to large research firms for various motives. All these reasons make it essential for users to consider hiding their online identity. As a result, they can protect their address, bypass geographic restrictions, and even stop brands from keeping a tab on their online activities.
Like everyone else, your privacy is important too, and calls for hiding your online identity. But as everything is recorded when you browse, it takes a bit of work to do this on the internet. In this section, we are covering a few important steps that you can follow to conceal your information:
A cookie is a small piece of data that collates information online, and sites obtain data by placing cookies on the device being used. It provides information about your online activities that shape targeted ads.
- Additional privacy
- No tracking of user activity
- Fewer targeted ads
- Less convenient online browsing
- Irrelevant ads and suggestions
A proxy is a server application acting as a gateway between clients and the site they’re trying to access. Based on security and privacy levels, they can serve as caches, filters, firewalls, or facilitate shared network connections. Some common uses of proxy servers include bypassing geo-blocking, masking a client’s private IP address, and regulating web requests.
- Online anonymity
- Access to geo-blocked content
- Content control
- Improved performance
- Higher costs of operations
- Compatibility issues with the current local network
- Weak encryption
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a private connection that builds an encrypted tunnel to conceal IP addresses, safeguard users’ online identity, and protect them from online snooping and censorship. It’s useful in protecting sensitive and private information from cybercriminals.
- No bandwidth throttling
- Access to censored content
- Better gaming experience
- Affordable security
- Slow connection speeds
- Complex configuration
- Dropped connections
There are anti-detection tools, like GoLogin and Kameleo, used to replace browser fingerprints and allow simultaneous work with multiple advertising or social accounts. GoLogin can replace all connection parameters and provide free proxies to those who only need anonymity. And for multi-account users, it can integrate with proxies purchased from vendors. Click here to read more about using proxies with GoLogin.
- 100% anonymity
- State-of-the-art AES encryption
- Powerful browser fingerprint checker
- No free plan
- No Team sharing in professional plan
A better view of the kind of online information obtained about you perhaps has given you a clearer understanding of some dangers that exist when you don’t pay serious attention to your online security. Always be smart about what you share online, and use private browsers at all times. This way, you’ll be able to keep your information safe and guard your online privacy.