Guess Who? Identity On The Internet

Written by Chloe Harwood

With adverts which predict what you want spread across the web and emails covering items you’ve looked at in the past coming out of the woodwork, a lot of people feel like they’re being watched when they’re on the net. Of course, this isn’t really the case, and most of the trickery you see is automated and controlled by machines. This isn’t always very comforting, though. So, to help you out, this post will be exploring your identity online, and the ways you can start to protect it.

  • Your Browser

Though it may seem like a basic tool, the browser you use to search the web is a very complicated piece of engineering. Collecting data in the form of cookies and search history, this software can give servers everything they need to show you what you want. Along with this, browsers are also responsible for storing sessions, and this is how a lot of websites will deal with logins.

The modern internet isn’t built in the way a lot of enthusiasts would like to see it. Nowadays, the data you send around the web is constantly being sent between servers to get to its location. This makes it very easy for your data to be tracked, and it can often help people to find your physical positioning. More and more governments are trying to force these companies to give up data about their customers. So, if you want to stay private, you might want to look for the right ISP to help you.

  • Your Data

Of course, not all of the data you share online is taken from you while you’re looking around. Instead, you will give a lot of information away yourself, especially when you’re signing up for websites and services. Data protection acts are in place to keep this sort of asset safe. But, it’s still a good idea to research companies you give yours to, just in case they have a bad track record. News articles, blogs, and forums are the best for this, but Google should be able to do a lot of the legwork for you.

Thankfully, the fact that you’re the one giving away your data means that you have the chance to regulate exactly what you give out. If you don’t like the idea of giving away information a website is asking for, you can simply walk away, or even tell a small lie on your registration form. You should never give away something you don’t feel comfortable with the world being exposed to, especially when it comes to sensitive data.

In a lot of modern homes, cold calls and nuisance visitors are a thing of the past. Instead, companies will usually use much cheaper means to achieve their goals and will send emails and SMS messages to reach out to you. Unfortunately, when you give away your data, you will often be agreeing for it to be sold to others. To avoid this, you should always be reading terms and conditions, even if people make fun of you for it. Nobody likes to deal with spam. So, if you want to avoid it, you’ll need to start doing the work.

  • It Still Isn’t Enough

With the prevalence of cybercrime in the modern world, it’s easy to see that the work companies do to stop people from pretending to be others isn’t quite enough. This is where systems like two-step verification come in. Instead of relying on a simple login or registration, this will send a notification which has to be responded to before actions can be completed. This limits the chances of stolen accounts by a huge degree. Nowadays, companies will often work to reduce fraud with identity verification services. This is why you might find registration becoming a lot stricter over the next couple of years, making things a lot harder for bots and spammers.

When you’re thinking about online identities, it can often feel worrying that you’ve shared so much. In reality, though, criminals need a lot of your data if they are going to be able to use it for anything. If you don’t use the same passwords for sites, you will limit the chances of someone getting access to them all. Picking and choosing the information you give can also be a great help in this journey.

Hopefully, this post will take away some of the fear you feel about your data on the web. A lot of people will ignore this part of their internet career. But, without this sort of effort, it could be very hard to make sure that you’re protected.

About the author

Chloe Harwood