There is an assumption, that what you do online is private and visible only to yourself. However this is actually pretty far from the truth, for a variety of reasons. One of the major ones is that there’s no inherent privacy built into HTTP the basic communication language of the internet. All data sent and received using HTTP is sent in clear text, which is relayed between shared servers, hardware and routers.
At your ISP every web site you visit is potentially logged, which is how security services can identify sites that you visit. IN fact we all have a full list stored on servers at our ISP of everything we do online. Every site we visit, every file we download every video we watch – it’s all there although currently you do need some sort permission to view these logs.
The reality is that the web is built up on a network of shared hardware so there are numerous points where your privacy is at risk too. The basic problem is the lack of any built in security in HTTP, even the basic layer that HTTPS provides to so-called secure sites is missing. Your data flows through the wifi and ethernet of a thousand servers across the world – all capable of interception and logging.
You can protect yourself of course, the key here is encryption. Your data will always have to use the shared resources of the internet but applying a layer of encryption will provide a huge security boost. Most people now who are concerned with privacy issues will use a VPN, this is one the more popular in this Identity Cloaker review which comes recommended.
There are lots of others of course, but it’s worth checking out the features and credentials. For effective security, encryption is paramount but there are other aspects to consider. For a start the VPN servers that provide the connection must be properly configured to provide a secure tunnel. Another aspect that is often forgotten is log retention, when you use a VPN then your logs are effectively transferred to the VPN provider. You should find out what there policy is regarding this data – ideally no logs should be retained at all otherwise you are simply transferring the privacy risk to some extent.