Is someone watching you now?

A laptop with a Venetian blind as a desktop image. But there's a twist! Binoculars peek through the blind. Nice.

Are you?

This post is going to take a look at the ways that are key third parties could be snooping on your internet activities right now.

Government surveillance

In the UK, the Tempora program intercepts internet visitors for surveillance purposes in partnership with the nation’s telecom companies and the NSA.

  • Emails, messages and other data from your accounts with AOL, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, PalTalk, Skype, Yahoo, YouTube, and others
  • Internet traffic passing through undersea fiber optic cables, which it taps in collaboration with governments around the world
  • Cell phone locations in some countries outside the U.S. It collects around 5 billion records per day

These are the programs we know about, based on information that is leaked. So there is also the possibility that new and secret surveillance programs are currently spying on us in other ways.

You might have procured your computers and network with firewall and security applications. You probably also have an authenticated connection to your ISP. But how secure is the path your data takes when you transmit it ?

Unsecure internet connections

Unless you are using a VPN, not very. When they reach their destination when you receive or send data packets online, you know. However, you don’t know which networks that information passed through to this destination on its way — or who might have made a copy. It’s possible your traffic is being spied on, by other parties as well as government agencies. Kinds of malware that could steal your data include:

Keyloggers — These programs record every keystroke you to track your activity or steal data like credit card numbers, send and make it to another party.

Malicious software

Adware — Websites you see are monitored and delivered to a third party, which uses the information to target ads based on your history.

Spyware — Software that appears to serve a helpful function but steals your information. The CoolWebSearch download presented itself but it also stole chatlogs, account credentials, bank information and more. Each cookie includes information that identifies youpersonally, either from your IP address or your browser identifier.

If the ad distributor is big enough, you’ll see their ads on a lot of sites that are different. And they’ll find a cookie each time. The end result is that the advertiser can track your activity and apply the information to target ads more effectively.

Most commercial websites now warn you that”This website uses cookies to improve the user experience.”

Third-party tracking cookies

Whether or not this constitutes spying is a matter of perspective. However, these tracking cookies could undoubtedly be considered a invasion of your privacy. Consider the following steps,

If you want to secure your information from surveillance that is confidential. Or share your ideas!

Most commercial websites now warn you that “This website uses cookies to improve the user experience.”

Whether or not this constitutes spying is a matter of perspective. But these tracking cookies could undoubtedly be considered a sneaky invasion of your privacy.

Measures to protect you from spies

If you want to protect your data from secret surveillance, consider the following steps.

  • Use a VPN to encrypt your internet traffic, so spies can’t open data packets even if they intercept them
  • Install security software and keep it up to date, to protect your computer from malware and hackers
  • Disable third-party cookies in your browser. It’s a simple option in Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, and others.
  • TAGS
  • Government
  • Surveillance
  • Technology

Lexie is the blog’s resident tech expert and gets excited about empowerment through technology, space travel, and pancakes with blueberries.

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