Internet Privacy

Written by Serena Berger
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Even if you do not download any attachments from unknown users and are careful not to send information over an unsecured connection, you may still allow third parties to learn a tremendous amount about you online. Companies and individuals may use various means to track your online activity, website visits, and purchases. Depending on their interests, they may exploit what they have learned about you for their own gains.

Risks Associated with Internet Use

Websites that you visit can see your IP address, which essentially identifies your computer. Advertising and marketing companies can also determine your geographic location and personal interests. They can also observe your web-browsing behavior to target you with advertisements for products that they want you to buy.

While these groups are usually more of a nuisance than anything else, hackers and identity thieves are after more personal information. They may try to obtain financial information, such as credit card and account numbers. This has led many credit card companies to offer virtual account numbers to credit card holders so that they can make a specific purchase online without the risk of sending their real credit card number across the Internet.

Software programs are available that can protect your privacy with the added byproduct of speeding up your internet connection by blocking those pesky advertisements. These products can prevent others from observing your online activity, as well as preventing others from obtaining your IP address. If privacy is one of the reasons that you limit your internet use, these programs can alleviate some of your concern so that you can surf without worrying about who might be watching.

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