With the massive amount of security failures, commercial hacks and privacy breeches that have occurred recently, with government and corporations both collecting data and routinely leaking it back to the public. In July of 2017 Equifax one of the largest credit bureaus in the U.S had a data breach that leak about 147.9 million of their consumers private information. Hackers using a simple vulnerability on one of Equifax websites led to a data breach that exposed about 150 million consumers.
All the way back in 2006, AOL published 650,000 users' search histories on its website. Though each user's logs were only associated with a random ID number, several users' identities were readily discovered based on their search queries.
In late 2016 Uber was hacked and leaked the personal information of 57 million users and 600,000 drivers. The worst part: It wasn’t until about a year later that Uber even made the breach public. They also reportedly paid the hackers $100,000 to destroy the data with no way to verify that they did, claiming it was a “bug bounty” fee.
Most recent example went is from March 17, the Facebook–Cambridge Analytica scandal involves the collection of personally identifiable information of up to 87 million Facebook users. Although this information just became public it started back in 2014. Cambridge Analytica a British political consulting firm which combines data mining, data brokerage, and data analysis with strategic communication for the electoral process. In 2014 they hired a Soviet-born American researcher, Aleksandr Kogan, to gather basic profile information of Facebook users along with what they chose to “Like.” About 300,000 Facebook users, most or all of whom were paid a small amount, downloaded Kogan’s app, called This Is Your Digital Life, which presented them with a series of surveys. Kogan collected data not just on those users but on their Facebook friends, if their privacy settings allowed it — a universe of people initially estimated to be 50 million strong, then upped to 87 million. The app, in its terms of service, disclosed that it would collect data on users and their friends.
With all the data hacks and privacy breeches that have went pubic in the last few years many people are justifiably acting like the age of privacy is official over. With most everyone owning smart devices and the applications on these devices having an ever increasing amount of 'permissions' , from access to your camera and microphone, but also your contact lists, and email addresses. With all this going on one may get concerned on what they can do to protect their privacy in 2018.
To say that privacy is dead in today's age is not an understatement, the privacy hacks at UBER, Adult Friend Finder, iCloud, are tiny fragments of data compared to big-brother. Multiple governments now have the capacity to record and save every phone call, email, text message in real time. Google; PRISM.
With all that being said can we do anything to protect our privacy in 2018 ? Yes there is a lot that we can still do to maintain our privacy and anonymity online. Pretend that you are being watched or listened to at all times because most likely you are. Privacy experts for years have recommended that people cover up their laptop camera with a sticker, some would go as far as advising customers to open their laptop case and cutting the wires to the internal microphone. By keeping the camera covered and disabling the mic one can be reasonably assured that they are not being watched or recorded.
Service providers keep tack of and record peoples online history by assigning them an IP address. An IP address is like an personal identification number for a computer. The IP address your ISP assigns to your computer or phone is permanent it becomes like a finger print. Over time the amount of personal information that can wind up attached to an IP address can be staggering. You can check your IP address here. When using a Virtual Private Network your computer receives a new IP address. After connecting using a VPN all the traffic from your computer now routes through the VPN network, and the IP address assigned by your ISP is hidden.
Be responsible with your browser. There are some truly excellent privacy themed plug ins for both FireFox and Google Chrome. Do Not Track is a web browser setting that requests that a web application disable its tracking of an individual. The Tor Client is also still an option for those who want the maximum amount of privacy and anonymity online. Tor (http://www.torproject.org) is a software product that encrypts then sends your Internet traffic through a series of randomly selected computers, thus obscuring the source and route of your requests. It allows you to communicate with another computer on the Internet without that computer, the computers in the middle, or eavesdroppers knowing where or who you are. Tor is not perfect, but it would take a sophisticated surveillance effort to thwart its protections.
Practice safe and efficient browsing habits. Never omi-search sensitive personal information. One of the key things that browsers save is search information. Searching for things like credit card numbers, Social security, full government name, and passwords is one of the quickest ways to have that information become vulnerable to hackers.
Privacy Based Search Engine
Google, Yahoo Bing, and all the other major search engines track your search history and build profiles so they can based on your search history. There are however search engines like DuckDuckGo.Com and StartPage that do not collect, store, or share your personal information.
Don’t be too open on social media
Companies like Facebook have been designed to bring you closer to your friends and family, but the problem is that not just your family but the whole world can see what you are sharing. If you post enough information on social media, it can actually be used to track you and those with ill intent will surly attempt take advantage of it in some way.
By following these professional privacy tips, utilizing the latest privacy tools, and by learning how to browse the web safe and anonymously, there is no reason why anyone should be truly concerned. While the government spy/security apparatus and the Orwellian social media (deep state) algorithm, the 5g consumer matrix which will advertise items you won't know you need until next week. Still there is no reason to be worried about the state of privacy, like most things today, lack of privacy is a tax charged to the poor and intellectually inept members of society.
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There are browser plugins which block cookies, opt-out of 3rd part contracts, and the aptly named Do Not Track DNT header is the proposed HTTP header field DNT that requests that a web application disable either its tracking or cross-site user tracking. When a web browser requests content or sends data using HTTP, it can include extra information optionally in one or more items called "headers". Do not track adds a header (DNT: 1), indicating that the user does not want to be tracked. The browser user has no control over whether the request is honored or not.There are Search engines like DuckDuckGo which will not store your personal information Ever. Virtual Private Networks prevent your ISP from tracking you and hide your location while connected to a proxy server. There are several anonymous cryptocurrencies which potentially allows a person to profit in the free market seemingly anonymously with out the threat of government coercion.
The climate of fear and vulnerability is understandable, many people today feel that the age of privacy and liberty are over, and that the united states now finds herself entrenched with misguided patriotism, and authoritarian corporate fascism disguised as the republican party. Although the cyber security private military has grown exponentially over the last 2 decades, it is still reasonably achievable for a person to remain practically anonymous in today's age .