You may have read a lot about Internet security and the things that they put you at risk for. Identity theft is one. Sexual predators targeting children is another. However, have you ever really looked into what these unwanted elements online are actually snatching from you so the risks begin to take shape? Sure, you know they take your credit card number, your banking usernames and passwords, but how exactly are they able do what they do?

Knowledge always puts us in a better position to defend ourselves. Hence, we must take a look at the things that these black hats are actually setting their sights on each time we go on line. And because we know information is what they always want from us, we can significantly control the problem by limiting the amount of information we make available. We can do this by making sure we visit only secure sites, check privacy policies of sites we do visit and basically be more cautious about the amount and substance of information that we expose.

Because our usual first connection with a hacker is the website we visit, we need to know what the hacker can take from us in order to appreciate the reasons why always need to be careful. Each time we connect to a website, the webmaster can take a look into the domain name where we’re connecting from. As you may know, sites on the Internet are identified as a domain name and each one can be further identified by its actual URL. For example, .gov means the site is government-owned, .edu means it is owned by a school and .com means the domain is for a commercial purpose.

Other details that a webmaster can obtain when we visit his site are those concerning the browsing software we use. He would know which browser we’re using as well as the version and other details about it. The webmaster may also look into what operating system you’re using. Our behavior while being on a particular site may also be monitored and the webmaster can keep track of the pages we visit, the length of time we stay on a page and whether or not we’ve come from a search engine or if we typed in their URL manually on our address bar.

And then, of course, another piece of information they can get from us is our IP address. Each computer connected to the Internet is identifiable with the use of a series of numbers which serve as the computer’s fingerprint. By this set of numbers, a user is able to send and receive information through the network. In other words, when this IP address is obtained, anyone can now freely do whatever he wants, even remotely control your PC as long as he has the right software or program to do that.

Usually, these things are harmless when obtained for legal and official purposes. For example, a government site that seeks to verify the identity of a citizen who is lodging a benefit claim online may need certain information about the person in accordance with site policies. The only time information is dangerous is when it lands in the wrong hands. The classic example of credit card details being stolen can result in the card owner having to pay bills for purchases he didn’t make. This is an example of an identity theft case wherein the card owner’s identity has been faked. Some hackers don’t have personal interest in credit cards but will still steal people’s identities so he could sell them to those who actually use the information.

Because one needs to maintain a level of privacy even while on the Internet, protective measures must be in place such as the use of an IP hiding software. This is a program that allows a user to go online with his IP address hidden so if he ever lands on a hacker’s site, there will be no harm done because the hacker won’t be able to track him down. Why? Simply because he has hidden his real IP and is disguising with a fake IP. Surely, you can’t be traced.

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You may have read a lot about Internet security and the things that they put you at risk for. Identity theft is one. Sexual predators targeting children is another. However, have you ever really looked into what these unwanted elements online are actually snatching from you so the risks...