Tips for protecting your privacy when browsing online
People are conducting much of their lives online, with the average person in the UK spending more than a day a week online, and 29% of people admitting to feeling ‘lost’ without the internet. With this, we’ve seen an increase in a new kind of cybercrime - data hacking. You only have to look back to the 2016 Ashley Madison data breach and the resulting $11.2m settlement to see how huge the impact of such leaks can be.
With that in mind, we’ve compiled some simple tips you can use to increase your privacy:
1. Incognito browsing - Most browsers now have the option to browse ‘incognito’. This means the browser doesn’t save any of the websites that you visit, or any other information such as cookies or personal data (name, address, credit card info). It also has no pre-saved information in it - it’s like accessing the web from a browser that has never seen the internet before. Whilst this doesn’t offer you protection from anyone who might be tracking you (such as Google), it does mean that your own laptop won’t carry a record of the sites you’ve visited.
2. Guest Mode - If you’re browsing the web on a public computer (such as in a library), you’ll want to use Guest Mode. This works similarly to Incognito in that it doesn’t save any record of browsing history and cookies, and also means you can’t change any web settings or see any of the browsing history of the main user.
3. Cover your webcam - Hackers know that they can potentially make a huge profit off any footage they capture remotely using your device. Whilst it is unlikely that you’re going to be targeted unless you’re a high profile individual, it is such a simple measure to take that you might as well be cautious.
4. Be mindful about who you trust with your data - As part of the Digital Economy Act, UK citizens will have to verify their age to access adult content online from April 2019. Whilst this is no bad thing, the government has entrusted companies to enforce this law across their own content, which could present a serious conflict of interest. For example, MindGeek - owners of many highly visited pornography sites such as PornHub - have created a solution called AgeID. To pass through AgeID, users will need to input their email address as part of the registration process which may not sit well with many consumers.
If you have concerns that any data you may use to verify your age could be held or leaked in the event of a hack, we recommend investing in the Age Verification Card. With this, you simply purchase the card from a shop, showing a form of ID at the point of sale (like buying alcohol or cigarettes). The card has a 16 digit code which can then be used to verify your age online - no database, no digital footprint, total privacy. Or, if you don’t fancy going to the shops, you can also purchase an Age Verification card online and use it at AgePass by AVSecure. AgePass is a digital, database-less solution built using blockchain, which completely anonymises and encrypts any information that passes through the software during the age verification process (NB: it’s important to note that none of the information is stored at any point. This means data security risks are kept to an absolute minimum).
The Digital Economy Act, due to come into force in April 2019, has shone a light on how we conduct ourselves online, and that’s no bad thing. We should all be conscious of what data we are sharing and how it is being used and stored. Even if you have nothing to hide, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to browse privately when online.