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In the age of targeted digital advertising, rampant data collection and device personalization, a growing number of working Australians are looking to improve their digital literacy in order to protect themselves online.
Once a certified foreigner in malware protection and VPN use, Australia is now joining some of the most tech-savvy countries in the world, with a growing number of the national population expressing an interest in integration. eSafety learning materials in primary and secondary schools. study programs, as well as the implementation of effective cyber risk mitigation plans in all Australian workplaces.
While institutional resources play a key role in promoting the growth of digital literacy in Australia, independent research is also crucial to ensure that individuals are fully equipped to prioritize their own online safety.
Understanding how websites track your users’ activity can be a fantastic foundation on which you can develop your own cybersecurity protection strategies.
These are some of the ways we can be tracked while surfing the web and, in turn, how you can minimize the risk of being tracked.
Track users through their IP address
One of the most common methods used by third parties to track device users on the Internet is to simply find out their IP address and their ISP (or “Internet service provider”). This information can show third party watchers where you are in the world, as ISPs (like Telstra or Dodo) are only available nationally.
If you access the internet without a VPN (learn more) or other form of private network connection, your geographic location is essentially perfectly visible to third parties, even the most tech savvy.
Your IP address can be found within seconds by the owners of any site you visit, or simply by any third party who can access the activity records of unsecured sites. There are even websites like Cover Your Tracks from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which are designed to show just how public your browsing habits can be.
Cookies and tracking scripts
Our most notable interactions with cookies may be fending off pop-ups that appear when we first visit a site, urging us to “accept all” cookies with a big, eye-catching button.
Many sites specifically design their cookie consent procedures to make sure that users accept all cookies as easily as possible, simply because confirming your personal preferences in these consent forms is too complicated compared to single click okay.
While most third-party cookies claim to be intended purely for users, some of these purposes themselves may include remembering things the user has interacted with and then using those items to personalize digital advertisements.
Refusing cookies is absolutely essential if you do not wish to consent to these personalized advertisements.
Since all the sites you visit are likely to use multiple cookies, accepting all cookies can also cause your computer to slow down due to the amount of data that must be decompressed before a web page loads. This is also why a common method of correcting device lag is to clear cookie caches on your web browser.
Even though we browse anonymously (i.e. with our IP address hidden and refusing third-party cookies), our browsing preferences themselves may also play a role in giving up our online identity.
Third-party watchers can learn a lot about our device as well as us (the users of the device) when they examine the plug-ins we may use for our browser, as well as our browser build and system. operation for which it is used. .
If you have plugins that you may be using for business purposes, fingerprint methods can be used to learn even more about you as a user of the device, as well as your organization at wider.
In essence, while browser fingerprints may appear to be one of the most harmless forms of third party online observation, this method can be used by crooks or hackers in order to target high profile individuals.
What is “anonymous browsing”?
If you are increasingly wary of the visibility of your digital footprint, you really are not alone. This is exactly the reason why the use of VPN in Australia has become more and more popular in recent years in particular.
Even Choice.com.au has published its own VPN buying guide specifically for Australians looking to browse anonymously online.
While VPNs are the most efficient method of browsing anonymously, there are a variety of other equally cost-effective methods that can be used, including accessing the web through a browser that supports private browsing, such as the Google Chrome incognito mode.
These private browsing features are not entirely impenetrable, however, and especially if the browser is not constantly updated. For this reason, it is always best to use multiple methods simultaneously, adopting a more complex methodology for your anonymous browsing habits.
The World Wide Web is an infinitely hazy space that experiences continuous evolutions and developments, some of which we cannot begin to understand.
In order to protect yourself while browsing online, your approach to your own cybersecurity should be as broad as the number of threats you may encounter.
Using antivirus software with a reliable VPN as well as practicing digital literacy while shopping on general online browsing will help you mitigate your risk of falling victim to cyber threats and minimize the risk to your devices. personal interact with viruses or malware.