«How my cell phone knows i was spying for laptop in the computer?»
In order to perform a registration websites increasingly request precise information about the name and surname, passport data as well as to verificate phone number and email. Why is it happening and what are the consequences, can we avoid it and if yes, then how exactly?
Let’s put it clear. After Snowden’s revelations and WikiLeaks investigations hardly someone is hoping for a full data confidentiality. In order to stay fully confidential and keep strictly confidential state secrets you know, you need to stop using internet, social networks and cell phone.
And in order to remain confidential you better don’t make any acquaintances, don’t show your passport to anyone and better just don’t show up at all. But if you got used to pay for goods and services with your phone, want to read your Facebook feed and post pictures on Instagram, everything is getting more complicated.
How do they know?
You have a device connected to internet. You use it mainly from home or from work, or possibly from both places. Special services called providers give your internet access. In order to conduct an agreement with a internet provider and get the access to home internet you provided your ID data, address and other details. The company you working for has also provided with an according data in order to make a Wi-Fi connection available in the office. That means that you access the internet from one or two IP addresses.
If you know user’s ID you can get his personal information such as name, email and phone number using special services. The provider has the rest of the data. Anytime you run a web page browser is transmitting a small piece of data called cookie to the service.
Сookie is not a program or computer virus or a spy, it does not do anything by itself. It’s just an unique set of symbols stored on the computer and on the server and help identify you as a user. It help save your passwords on the most frequently visited websites and applications.
The retail shops, search engines, social networks know your query history exactly due to these pieces of data. And do you remember, your phone number is tied to your email and your email is tied to your account in a social network? So why you still wonder that your phone knows secrets you entrusted the search engine on your computer?
You can deny sending cookies to a specific site or to all sites in general, but then some of the features may stay locked for you.
Who are all these people?
So, who and with what purpose is collecting our data on internet? There are several categories placed in descending order of popularity.
Marketing specialists. Large majority of the data collected on the internet are used as statistic. Target advertising is created based on its analysis.
Law enforcement. During the investigations or trying to prevent crimes police, prosecutor’s office and intelligence staff can gain access to personal data from providers.
Special platform with paid services. In that case data is not secretly collected. On the contrary, everything is totally transparent. If you want to use such service, you have to register and verify (confirm) all the data. There are two reasons for that:
- The state makes several claims for providers of paid internet services. User data verification is one of these claims.
- Bank card payment, courier delivery of ordered goods, SMS alert - all this comfort cannot be granted anonymously to anonymous users. It is mutual. Just accept the fact you have to verify your data everywhere you want to be able to see certificates and licences.
Fraudster. Fraudsters are mainly interested in a banking card, cell phone account and an e-account and not in private secrets. By the way if you are being asked to give you cell phone number for a fast and free movie, e-book or music file download, it is not a paid service, it is a fraud. Most likely you will download a spy program with the media desired, a program that can easily steal money from your cell phone account or hack your account in a social network.
Curious. Active involvement in an anonymous internet community dedicated for instance to a popular show can give you a very rich virtual life. There are fans and haters. Ones will want to know you better, the others will want to try to do something worse to you. And exactly that can hurt the most. Usually we keep our small secrets not from law enforcements but from the gossips we know.
Why the anonymity is needed today?
Anonymity is a part of the internet of the end of the nineties - beginning of the XXI century. That was the time when people important in a real life were hiding behind nicknames to write freely and openly in popular blogs they had on LJ and other similar resources. Back then a thousand of followers meant the virtual character made by his author is charismatic and loved by the audience. Und hundreds of virtual fans were dreaming about knowing better but could not find out how some bigMax or Joker_67 look in a real life.
Today everything is differently. Internet users have no trust to anonymous. Tens and hundreds thousands of followers gather blogs, and their authors do not hide both their names and faces. It is possible even mysteriously Banksy and Satoshi Nakamoto would not be able to get the attention of jaded audience if they started in 2017 only.
Internet advertisement can be easily limited with special programs and applications. The interest of the law enforcement is also not that bad. If you are an intruder simply abandon your planned crimes and the confidentiality issue will not bother you that much. If you are a law-abiding citizen simply think over what would you chose - full anonymity or security.
Despite all mentioned above there are several actual reasons to keep your data or at least part of it secretly on the web. That could be business matter if your work involves trade secrets. That could be worries to become victim of fraud. Or that could be simply an individual choice of a person who does not like being watched. That’s why we made a list of the most available measures that will help you keep anonymity on the web.
The easiest ways
Divide your internet presence in private and public. For that purpose obtain an additional SIM card and set up different email accounts.
Create difficult passwords and do not use the same password for different sites. Do not store any passwords or PIN codes on your computer, not only in your email account or in a cloud but even in a simple word document. The best place for a password storage is a paper sheet in your nightstand.
Use international email servers, search engines, starting pages instead of their local analogues.
Go online from different places, from internet cafes, restaurants with free Wi-Fi access and similar places in order to have your IP addresses change.
Proxy server is a paid or free service receiving all user’s queries when connecting to the internet. And proxy server will address the queries to particular sites. In this way it is hard to find out which sides were visited by which proxy server user.
Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a paid or free encrypted channel the user can set up on his computer. VPN makes you hide incoming and outgoing data including IP. The popular anonymizer ZenMate is exactly offering VPN for Chrome users.
Anonymous browser is a dedicated software. By running this software any query goes through a chain of proxy servers. TOR is the best known example of such browser.
These are of course not the all possible measures of keeping your data secret. And by the way the part of these measures is forbidden in some countries. But if you need confidentiality, be consequent. If you just once go on web with your private nickname from your public address you cannot be sure in security of your data.
Compliance with the measures we told you about will help keep you the anonymity on the internet as long as it is possible. But be ready that once you will have to give it up. The internet of things, increasing opportunities of social networks and online retailers and other technologies are coming to our life. And sooner or later we won’t be able to live without all these features.
And what about secrets? It will be the same as it was before internet and life in modern big cities. People live in the open that’s why a clean conscience is worth a lot.