Category: Internet Filtering & Security

How Browsing Fingerprinting is Used to Track You

How Browsing Fingerprinting Tracks You

The internet has enabled a lot of things in today’s modern world. In the early 2000s, the internet changed how businesses advertise their products and services. Many businesses dumped the traditional offline techniques and adopted online advertising through the internet.

Later, they realized that they could not advertise to everybody out there. The need to advertise to relevant audiences gave rise to behavioral tracking. By that we mean, businesses track your online movements and decide whether you’d be interested in what they do before sending ads your way.

This method relies on web cookies and not only tracks previously visited sites but the location, etc. But then, internet users in the mid-2000s discovered ways they’d stop this snooping. They’d disable cookies and use ad blockers, making it daunting for businesses.

But in a bid to keep up behavioral tracking, advertisers are now using new and much more sophisticated techniques. The latest trick that has made tracking possible is device or browsing fingerprinting.  This article will look more into what it is and how it can help companies and advertisers track you.

What is Browsing Fingerprinting?

Device or browsing fingerprinting is a technique initially designed to track internet users for security purposes. It involves browsers gathering individual information of internet users and availing it where needed. This information includes location, device type, screen resolution, language, etc.

Trackers do not need to collect your information at a go. It can take a few browsing attempts to match details and create a unique and accurate fingerprint for every user. Consequently, they can track your online activity and movements without a problem.

This technique has evolved a lot from the time it first got introduced. Recent developments have made cross-browser fingerprinting possible, consequently making tracking more effective. According to experts, this dynamic technique is capable of identifying internet users 99% of the time.

On the positive side, browsing fingerprinting has played an important role in shaping the digital environment. It has enabled analytics and tracking for website owners. You can now know the number of visitors visiting your site and how many visitors return to it.

Online safety that wasn’t a guarantee before fingerprinting is now almost one. For instance, it has played a great role in identifying and preventing credit card and bank fraud. E-commerce fraudsters also now have a headache to try and defeat the wall fingerprinting has built.

How they fingerprint you

Although trackers cannot match fingerprints with real identities, there’s so much they can do you’re your information. Businesses are hiring third-party companies to collect the information we mentioned earlier. Now, their work is to discreetly monitor your digital movements and keep bits of data about you.

The data brokers hired to collect your information create a general profile of you. They look at your interests, from the sites you visit, consider the language you use, your location, and age range to create a pseudo profile for you, and that most of the time turns out to be an accurate representation of you.

Fingerprinting, as mentioned earlier, got developed to foster online security. Website owners create digital fingerprints to prevent identity theft, credit card fraud, software piracy, etc. Thus, many businesses and websites that benefit from it will tell you that it isn’t all that bad.

However, online privacy has been a concern for years, and browsing fingerprinting interferes with it. Companies exploit the information received from data brokers, and that is a consistent privacy violation. Thus, many internet users would rather protect themselves using security tools than have someone collect such critical data without consent.

Browsing Fingerprinting – How to Fight Back

Internet users get faced with a dilemma whenever the browser fingerprinting topic comes up. Of course, people want to find ways to stop it like they do with traditional behavioral tracking. However, the downside is that browsing fingerprinting is naturally difficult to circumvent.

A more positive thing that has come about is that you can, to some extent, prevent browser fingerprinting. Some privacy-first browsers like Tor make every device look the same. That makes it difficult for bots to collect the information required to create a digital fingerprint.

Safari, a browser that belongs to Apple, is another difficult one to fingerprint. Apple has a smaller product line than many mobile devices and PC manufacturers, making most of its devices look similar. Consequently, you become immune to fingerprinting if you’re using an iPhone or Mac.

Firefox is another potential option for internet users looking to avoid fingerprinting. This browser has invested in aggressive default privacy protection features. Besides, there is a word that it is also advancing its protection features to block fingerprinting in the future completely.

You can also use an SSL proxy to fight back browsing fingerprinting. The best thing about using this proxy is that it enhances your online security and privacy at the same time. Besides, they help you remove ads that you do not like and aid in ad verification to reduce online fraud.

Although fighting back on new technology isn’t easy, it is best to give it a try. Technology itself has made it possible to fight back, thanks to the software developments and protection features being added to browsers.

Conclusion

The digital landscape is increasingly becoming complex every day. Consumers are becoming careful about what they have to do to browse securely and privately. Conversely, marketers and advertisers are hungry for customer information as they look to up their marketing game and reach business goals.

New tracking techniques like browsing fingerprinting are becoming popular since traditional reliance on cookies is no longer reliable. However, internet users are also becoming aware of new ways to curb fingerprinting. The use of protective browsers, proxies, and developing new privacy rules seems to work.

With browsing fingerprinting constantly changing with new advancements like cross-browser fingerprinting, you have to be smart enough to prevent it. One of the best things you can do is investing in reliable software, using protected browsers, or purchasing well-protected devices.

Can Hackers Breach Microsoft 365 Accounts?

Can Hackers Breach Microsoft 365 Accounts

Microsoft 365 accounts have come under increasing attacks by hackers. It seems like no organization is safe if reports are anything to go by. It seems like no organization is safe if reports are anything to go by.

Microsoft released a report that the level of threat sophistication is rising. It makes it harder for them to identify cybercriminals. Key areas of concern are the internet of things (IoT) devices. Other threats are ransomware, and credential harvesting. In 2019, the company blocked 13 billion suspicious and malicious emails.

Foreign governments are also playing dirty. They are working with hackers to monitor US treasury department emails. They also used software and Microsoft Office 365 to get access. Hacking is, without a doubt, a major concern for everyone. It is crucial to prevent such attacks.

Parents must also be extra watchful. You must take the necessary steps to keep kids safe while online.

We will show you everything you need to do to secure your Microsoft 365 account.

How to Secure a Microsoft Office 365 Account and Keep Your Kids Safe While Online

Microsoft Office 365 accounts are critical for most businesses. But, they have also become quite popular amongst hackers. Once the cybercriminals are in your system, they access services and applications. Such include the calendar, SharePoint file, email, and Onedrive.

It will compromise your online security and expose you to different threats. Hackers will use several methods to get excess. Such include:

  • Phishing through the use of fake login pages. They will often ask you to change your account settings, including the password.
  • Business email compromise where the hacker uses a genuine Office 365 account. You get an email asking for specific information or action. Be careful about opening links whose source you do not know. Be wary of emails that have a lot of urgencies, especially to send money.

How to Know When a Hacker Compromises Your Microsoft Office 365 Account

There are specific things that show that your Microsoft Office 365 account is not safe. Such include:

  • An increase in email deletions due to the mailbox rules
  • Difficulty accessing account
  • Changes to your account that you did not allow
  • Suggestions for new actions including Mail forwarding or moving orders
  • Requests for password changes from location to do not know
  • Many login attempts
  • An increase in inbox activities that you are not taking
  • Changes to your profile, contact details, signatures, and credentials

Steps To Take To Secure Your Microsoft Office 365 Account

If you are on the receiving end of hacking, it can be scary. There are steps you can take to restore safety on Microsoft 365. Remember online security starts with you. Watch the sites your children visit.

If possible, restrict access to some of the sites. Only use secured networks when you are online. Also, enable the firewall and install the necessary antivirus protection on your devices.

1.   Work Offline

When you always connect your computer to the internet, hackers have an easy way of finding access to you. The alternative is to work offline as much as you can. It is a good idea to consider if the kids use the computer a lot, especially for school work.

Install the desktop version of Office 365. It eliminates the need to depend on the cloud to access the applications. You still have access to your programs without needing internet connectivity.

2.   Use Microsoft Office for Chromebook

To increase security, consider installing Microsoft Office for Chromebook.  The Chromebook’s design focuses a lot on security features. It makes it safer than Linux, Android, iOS, and even windows.

Chromebook works by blocking any installation attempts. If there is a malicious virus in an email, it will not attack your system. Everything you do when using Chromebook is cloud-based.

It makes it harder for hackers to get access to your system. The developers are always rolling out updates. Verified boots, and sandboxing also help prevent infection. In the long-term, you save a lot. You do not need external malware or virus protection.

3.   Use Strong Passwords and Multi-Factor Authentication

A weak password can compromise your safety. Take the time to craft a strong password for your accounts. A combination of numbers, letters, and symbols is a good idea. Avoid the use of birthdays, anniversaries, and 1234 as passwords.

Enable the password expiration so that you only use the password for several days.

Multi-factor authentication requires the use of an extra password to access the account. It uses information that only you would know. It may ask questions like who was your first teacher. What was the first object that you ever bought for yourself? Who is your favorite author? The answer you give becomes your second password.

4.   Configure Your Office 365 Accounts

Be careful about how you use the administrative account. Do not give access to everyone and assign privileges. You should not use the admin account for administrative use.

Before you access the admin account, make sure you close all other browser sessions. Do the same for any email accounts that are currently running. Once you finish using the admin account, make sure you log out completely.

Do not let anyone else get access to your emails or calendars. Avoid Mail forwarding to external domains. Remove global mail forwarding that the attacker may have created.

Also, take advantage of the security measures that Microsoft Office has in place. The company is even using artificial intelligence to improve the Microsoft defender.

5.   Secure Mobile Devices

Take note of the mobile devices you use as well. Microsoft Intune is a mobile device management tool that helps you secure your data. You can use it on IOS, Windows, Android, and iOS devices. If you lose your device, you can wipe out the data remotely.

Final Thoughts

From our article, we have shown that hackers can breach Microsoft Office 365. The good news is that there are specific steps to prevent breaches. Come up with a strong password and take advantage of the multi-factor authentication.

Download the desktop version of Office 365 so that you do not depend on the cloud. The other option is to use Microsoft Office for Chromebook. You get to enjoy the security features of the latter.

It is important to keep the kids safe while online. Use some of the tips we have shared above and enjoy peace of mind knowing they are safe.

Learn more about how to protect your computer at risk.

TikTok and Online Security: Is TikTok Safe for Kids?

Tik Tok and Online Security

You might have recently heard about some of the scandalous accusations that have been aimed at TikTok. Their accused lack of respect for peoples’ privacy and for online security has led to people wondering if they are spying and even seen calls for the app to be banned in the USA.

In this guide, we’re looking at some of the reasons why people are so suspicious of TikTok and going in depth on whether or not you should trust this social media giant.

What is TikTok?

TikTok is a social media company that is similar in some respects to other visual platforms like Vine and Instagram. It focuses on short, snappy videos. There are effects you can add as well as songs and soundtracks, and these make a lot of the videos perfect for sharing. There are TikTok celebs in the same way that there are YouTube celebs as the younger generation especially become infatuated with the platform.

The TikTok Controversy: Is TikTok Safe?

People suspect that they are less than honest for a few different reasons. The Chinese company that owns TikTok has been accused of working with the chinese government and the CCP in order to spy on Americans and other nationalities using the app.

Also, TikTok has had a chequered past where 42 million user profiles were exposed in a massive data leak, and because it is quite an open platform it can be abused by some scammers.

Why would TikTok want to steal peoples’ information?

It is hard to know the exact motives, but the accusations of links to spy groups suggest that they could wield some very powerful information. If the TikTok security was breached (something that a lot of people are concerned about) then this information, and the huge amount of data that the app requests to store when you use it, could be utilized for those with sinister intentions.

One of the things that has made people suspicious is the fact that TikTok records so much, including your location and even your device’s keystrokes.

Identity Theft Facts

Did you know that cybersecurity statistics show that nearly 1 in 3 DATA breach victims (30.5%) also suffered from identity fraud In 2013 – up from 22.5% in 2012. And this was years ago, Identity theft has been on the rise ever since, before TikTok was even on the scene. This type of theft is becoming more viable, and more easy to implement for certain criminals and this means that it is growing. Identity theft could well overtake physical forms of theft. People can use your details to borrow money or even to commit crimes, so it is important to be really cautious about what information you make available.

Identity theft can seem like something a bit abstract and like it is not relevant to you, but over 60% of those hit by scams say they have no idea how it happened to them. You can never be too careful as it can happen to anyone out there.

How to protect yourself and your children from Identity Theft

If you are at all worried then you should remember that you don’t have to get a TikTok account, and even if your children are desperate to have one, you might want to discourage this use of social media wherever possible. Though it doesn’t seem fun, it is worth actually reading the privacy policy and terms and conditions of the app. If you aren’t comfortable, steer clear.

If you do create an account, ensure that it is a private account, and see if your device will allow you to stop apps and third parties tracking your use of the device while you use the apps as this can be a way to prevent identity theft and stop loads of details about you and your life from being collected. 

How Safe is TikTok for Kids?

As with any social media platform, there are certain risks associated with the app that parents should be aware of. One risk includes the potential for exposure to inappropriate content. While it’s true that the app’s official guidelines prohibit illegal or inappropriate content to be shared, it’s worth noting that there aren’t real people managing this process. Instead, TikTok relies on digital algorithms to automatically filter out content that violates the app’s official guidelines. The reality of this is that some illicit content will inevitably fly under the radar and end up on users’ screens.  

Another area of concern is the potential for communication with strangers. With over one billion users on the app, the risk of contact with strangers shouldn’t be ignored. Kids aged 16+ that create an account will have their profile set to public by default, and their account activity is visible to anyone. While accounts made by children between the ages of 13 and 15 are automatically set to private, it’s not hard to bypass this restriction—all they have to do is enter a false birth date when they register for an account. 

While there are many parental controls parents can activate to mitigate many of these risks and create a safer experience for their children who use the app, it’s still important to be educated on the potential dangers that come with any social media platform. Knowing what privacy settings you can manage and taking time to set technology boundaries with your kids are some of the best ways you can ensure your kids are protected on TikTok. 

What Will Happen To TikTok?

Nobody has specific proof that TikTok is being used to spy on people or to steal identities. In the world of politics there is plenty of debate about the app and its use as people realize just how much power the owners of the app, ByteDance, who first acquired musically then transformed it into TikTok, could have if they really are tapping into that personal data.

If the claims are valid then it is probably a good idea to come off the app, but also to protect yourself in other ways. You can use identity monitoring services to try and establish whether data about you has leaked or become available on the black market. If some of the claims that have been made about TikTok and the Chinese government links then there is every chance that there will be some really drastic measures taken very soon.

The Future of Tiktok

TikTok seems to be tightening up some of its security.  The recent bad PR has led to the app trying to build confidence from consumers that they are not trying to steal data from people or collude with parties who are less than trustworthy.  It still remains to be seen how safe TikTok can be for kids.

The app could be removed from app stores if it is not up to scratch in terms of its privacy policies, so there are real threats to whether it will continue to exist within the western hemisphere. The threat of this will surely lead to the app becoming more watertight and giving users a lot more security controls. If not, the days of cute cat videos on TikTok could be numbered.

How to Protect My Family’s Finances from Hackers

Protect My Family’s Finances from Hackers

With the rise of technology, online security is more important than ever. Hackers are always developing new ways of compromising banking accounts. You do not want to be a victim of these cybercriminals, and most especially, you do not want your loved ones to fall in the trap. Thus,are there ways to make sure yours and your family’s finances are safe online?

There are many things you can do to protect your family from hackers. You can install the best antivirus, use a VPN to hide your IP, create strong passwords, and avoid clicking on bad links, etc. Read the entire guide to learn more.

Install the Best Antivirus

One of the effective ways of protecting your finances online is by installing good antimalware. A good antivirus will protect you from all malware created by hackers such as Trojans, Viruses, ransomware, adware, spyware, to name just a few.

The best antivirus comes with extra features to keep your online accounts safe from scams and other cybercriminals. Here are the features to look out for when buying one;

  • Malware protection; a good antivirus program should offer protection against new and advanced forms of malware. Cybercriminals use this malware to steal your banking details such as passwords and usernames.

This protection will improve your device’s native security system. When your devices and online accounts are protected, it will be less likely that your credit card numbers will be exposed to hackers.

  • Ransomware protection; ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts a victim’s files. The best antivirus will prevent your data from being held ransom.
  • Phishing protection; it is so easy to click on a link that disguises as your bank. A good anti malware will warn you when you are about to enter into a fake site.

On a fake website, hackers entice you into entering sensitive information such as credit card details, email addresses and passwords. Hackers use this information to steal your money. With a good antivirus, hackers will not be able to steal this data.

You will also be warned if you receive fraudulent emails that look as if they are from a friend, a company or financial institutions.

Parental control features; since many kids are spending more time online, they need an antivirus that can keep them safe from predators, addictive apps, and hackers.  A good antimalware program has parental control features that can filter out offensive content, block tracking apps and give the exact location of your kids for proper monitoring.

Use a VPN to hide your IP address

Get a good VPN. It will increase your security on private and public internet connections making it hard for cybercriminals to steal your financial information.

With a VPN, your details, like your location, are hidden, so you can securely access websites, apps, entertainment and more. It offers online privacy. Your internet provider, tracking website and internet browsers cannot be able to tell what you are doing online or able to disclose your sensitive information.

With this program, you can share any file without worrying a hacker might know its content.

Use 2-Factor Authentication to Protect your Financial Accounts

One of the best ways of protecting your family from hackers is by using 2-factor authentication to secure their online accounts.  Usernames and passwords are no longer sufficient since hackers can guess them.

With multi-factor authentication or 2-factor authentication, you will be required to verify your identity either by use of a call, text, or a code being sent to your phone number.  This provides an extra layer of security to your online accounts.

This technology can use your fingerprint, voice, and facial recognition so as to verify your identity.  Many banking institutions are using this technology since it best secures your information online.

Create strong passwords

If you want your family to stay safe online, encourage them to create strong passwords for their online accounts. Strong passwords are hard to crack.  A strong password that can beat hackers has the following characteristics;

  • Has 15 characters or even more
  • Has a mix of numbers, letters, and characters. Don’t forget to include too uppercase and lowercase letters
  • Avoid easy passwords such as 123, admin
  • Avoid using your names, phone numbers and your birth date as your password. Do not use passwords that you have used before or use for your other online accounts.

Remember, the best passwords will thwart brute force and make your accounts hard to break.

Educating Kids

The more your kids know about online safety the better they will be equipped to deal doing their part.  They will more easily understand the dangers of financial hacking when they first respect the value of money.  You can also start simply by teaching kids how to use online finances responsibly.


Read more about family finances:
5 Creative Ways to Save For Your Children’s Future