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Why your ISP is tracking you and how to protect yourself!

Why your ISP is tracking you

Since the House of Representatives voted to give ISPs the ability to collect and sell your browsing data the whole internet has been in a huge flurry.

Giving away all your data is a huge cut in the privacy of every internet user. The reason why they are tracking is pretty obvious: Money. Selling the data makes a huge profit for them. The question is, why should one even care? Personalized advertisements are already all over the internet so what’s a few more targeted ads?

Just take yourself some time to think about all the things your Internet Service Provider could know about you. It does not matter if you are torrenting, looking for a new job or just viewing some sites you would not like anybody to know about. We think that it just should not be in anyones hands to see what we are doing online. Our privacy should always be on top of everything when going online.

What can ISPs see of your online activies

Your ISP can potentially see all your data and website details that you are viewing online. The only restriction is that it can not see HTTTPS secured website data since the packages are encrypted by a special certificate. How can you see if you are visiting a "secure website"?

  • HTTP:
    • On any website that is not https and only http your entire data and content can be tracked and viewed by your ISP.

      No Secure Connection

      Unsecure Website

  • HTTPS:
    • HTTPS where the S stands for secure and involves the use of an SSL certificate. SSL ( Secure Sockets Layer) creates a secure encypted connection between the web server (website) and the web browser (your computer). This means that on any https secured website you can not get tracked by your ISP.

      SSL-Certification

      Secure Website

In any case – no matter if the visited websites are https or http – your ISP can see the name and the domain of the website that you have visited. Without any additional security measurements you can’t hide this.

 

Since your ISP can see your all your visited sites and most of the viewed content we would recommend hiding your data. To do so there are different ways of encrypting your connection and enabling a secure Connection

How to protect yourself

To protect yourself we did find different solutions. Some are for free and some require a payment. Some solutions do help you more and some just do the necessary. However please have a look at the following:

 

HTTPS Everywhere:

HTTPS Everywhere is a Firefox, Chrome, and Opera extension that encrypts your communications with many major websites, making your browsing more secure. While your data is encrypted and can’t be seen by your ISP your visited websites and browsing history is still not protected.

Encryption
Easy to use

Does not hide your visited websites
Only encrypts within your browser

VPN

A virtual private network (VPN) is a technology that creates a safe and encrypted connection over a less secure network, such as the internet.This means that a VPN is able to ensure a secure connection to any site you are viewing which makes it impossible for your ISP or anyone else to track what you are doing. If you would like to know more about how a VPN works please have a look at this article.

Changes your IP Adress

Encryption

Easy to use software

Fast

Location Spoofing

Encrypts all your online data

Not for free

Proxy

A proxy server is a computer that acts as an intermediary between your computer and the internet. Any traffic routed through a proxy server will appear to come from its IP address, not your computer’s. Unlike VPN servers, proxy servers do not have to devote resources to encrypting all traffic that passes through them.
Changes your IP address

Location Spoofing

Often for free

No Encryption

Often complicated to setup

Slow

Only encrypts within your browser

Tor

Tor is an anonymity network that provides free software designed to allow you to access the internet anonymously. It passes data between a number of randomly selected nodes, encrypting it each time. Each node knows where signal comes from and the node it is going to, but cannot see the whole route.

Changes your IP address

Encryption

For free

Very Slow

Not suitable for filesharing

Only encrypts within your (Tor-)browser

Conclusion:

If you want your online activities to stay private we recommend using a VPN or Tor. While Tor offers high security for free it may be to slow for your usual internet usage. A VPN offers high security for your whole internet connection. The downsite is that a free VPN can´t offer some advantages. If your online security is worth some pennies for you we would definitely recommend using one. To choose the best fitting VPN provider for you please have a look at our VPN comparison


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