How to avoid being tracked online by tech companies and hackers

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As human beings, our privacy (including how to avoid being tracked online) and personal boundaries are inexplicably linked to our human dignity, independence, and freedom. 

Privacy and deciding who to let in and when are critical to being separate from others and maintaining self-determination. 

Trust is the foundation of all lasting and healthy relationships, and without it, there can be no progress. The critical question is, can we trust big tech companies? Are we comfortable with them monitoring everything we do online, and if not, how do we keep ourselves hidden?

How to avoid being tracked online.

We need to take responsibility to avoid being tracked online, and we trust this guide will assist you in your efforts. Although these tactics will go a long way to keeping the spies at bay, nothing is 100% fail-proof.

Avoid being tracked through your computer’s camera.

Sad, but true. Hackers can access your camera through the internet and watch every move you make. You may notice this by the little camera light switching on unexpectedly, but that is not always the case. There are techniques hackers use to avoid being detected. So, when you are not using your laptop, close it, disconnect it from WiFi or, like Mark Zuckerberg, place a small round sticker over the lens when not in use.

Switch off your cover your camera lens.

A lesson on cookies from Hansel and Gretel.

In the story, Hansel and Gretel leave behind breadcrumbs to find their way home after a difficult journey. Unfortunately, the breadcrumbs get eaten by birds, and they get lost. 

Similarly, when visiting websites, you leave behind cookies on your computer’s browser like the trail of breadcrumbs in Hansel and Gretel.

The cookies keep track of everything you do, from online shopping to articles you are reading to the links you clicking on. They find their way back to your IP address, your home address on the internet. 

These cookies allow you to seamlessly log in to your most recently visited accounts without entering your username and password and although helpful, they can be invasive.

Manage cookie settings on your browser.

Manage cookies and beef up your security

Remove cookies by clearing your internet browsing history after each session and setting your browser options to private. 

You can also use CCleaner to delete those hard-to-reach cookie crumbs from your internet browsing history and be extra safe.

Don’t rely on web browsers to capture your usernames and passwords. Instead, do it yourself and read our article on how to create a strong password for increased security measures and password management. 

Another way you can avoid being tracked online is to use alternative search engines like StartPage, DuckDuckGo or CyberGhost. These search engines allow you to browse the internet without worrying about them following you around.

Next, you can use a tool like Tor that scrambles your IP address, masking your online ‘residential’ address, making it difficult for websites to track you. Tor is used by Edward Snowden. Need we say more? 

Social media platforms and apps that monitor phone calls.

Apps track all your movements including physical.

Your favourite Apps can track every phone call you make and can view photographs on your phone. Furthermore, they can view all your contacts and complete information on your phone, track your web browsing activity, and monitor the places you physically visit.

They create a profile of you around your likes and dislikes for advertising purposes. They do this with social media voting buttons and analytics tracking scripts. But who knows what else they use the information for and whom they sell it to. 

We know it can be a drag, but when you register your details on a new website, make sure you read the terms of service first and take steps to protect your online privacy.

Avoid  being tracked on your phone

The only types of apps you should use are mobile browser apps. 

Only log in to websites from your phone when you absolutely have to, and log out when finished. These apps can extract information from your phone’s microphone if you stay logged in. The best way to stay logged out is to regularly delete cookies on your phone.

Also, disable the location services on your phone. You can disable these services under your phone settings.

If you are using native phone apps (apps developed for a specific platform), then a VPN (a virtual private network) won’t be able to protect you from revealing your location.

Cross-site tracking scripts and pixels

Platforms like Facebook, Google, and Twitter use cross-site tracking scripts or pixels used in social sharing and voting buttons to gather all sorts of data about you. These types of tracking efforts can be blocked using services like Disconnect. 

Put some of these tips into practice for peace of mind; trust us, it’s worth it.