Friday, March 29, 2019

Internet Privacy

Hi, faithful readers!

Today, I'm writing about something I really don't understand.  So, all of you wireheads and techies, feel free to correct me...but keep it at kindergarten level, please!

Can you be private on the internet?  No, not really.  If someone wants your personal information, and you have any sort of online presence, they're going to be able to get it.

But, you can take some steps to at least make it harder for them.

  • Don't use Google Chrome as your web browser.  It's almost impossible to totally avoid Google and still be online, but at least don't use their main products - Chrome, Gmail, Facebook, Instagram, Messenger.  I switched to Firefox for my browsing.  You may want to go further and look into the TOR browser.
  • If you must have a Google account, consider using a false name, and don't link it to your main email account.
  • Ditto for social media.  Facebook, Twitter, etc.
  • Don't give out your main phone number online either.  Consider getting a "burner" phone and use its number for your online activities (Note, I haven't done this personally...but I'm thinking about it!)
  • Don't use Google Search as your main search engine, either.  Try Duck Duck Go.
  • Get a Virtual Private Network (VPN).  Your ISP can collect all sorts of information about you and your browsing habits...but not if you channel your connection through a VPN.  I recently signed up for NordVPN, and found that it was not that hard to set up and use!
  • Try using an encrypted messaging service.  You can't trust WhatsApp any longer...Facebook now owns it, and if they aren't mining your data now, they probably will soon.  I switched to Signal.
Will using a VPN hurt my online performance with Second Life?  I have, I think, noticed a small decrease in performance, using NordVPN and a US-based server...but it has been a very small impact, only a few frames per second.  I think the added protection is worth it.

I have noticed that there are a few websites that won't let me access them while using my VPN.  I understand that some sites do this because spammers and scammers use VPNs too.  It's not a big problem...if I absolutely must visit that site (usually to buy something that only they sell) I'll turn off the VPN.

When signing up for any "free" service, remember:  If they're not selling you something, then you're the commodity.

1 comment:

  1. Hiya, Lindal!

    I think it's great that you're doing this post! I would certainly like to know more about it too, so I hope others chime in!

    I would like to throw in there that a firewall, keyscrambler, WinPatrol, and antivirus, are great with a VPN!

    I agree with you that Firefox is more secure... however, I prefer Chrome because it loads sites faster. You can always go incognito and there are some add-ons for controlling things (like I have a script disabler for pop-ups and such). I believe Firefox has these kinds of add-ons as well.

    While a Google account/e-mail may link you to a bunch of things, it is safer... Yahoo! has been hacked, and Flickr is owned by Yahoo! (which, I notice ppl are still posting their pix on there)!

    I didn't like FB either, until I noticed how much power it has to make certain things Google-able. I guess it's one of those "use it wisely and with discretion" kinda things.

    Also, about a decade ago, I fell for the Mac computer system not being susceptible to viruses... and although it may be true, my MacBookPro became an extremely expensive paperweight within 5 or less years. I recommend PC (I haven't tried the Linux), but PC seems very user-friendly and you have the ability to control/manipulate more things.

    Anyhoo... Thanks for you post and I hope to see some other comments too! :)