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I think I'm endangered in Internet :(


SecureMichael
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This is my 1st post on this Forum - Hello My Name is Michael and I'm from Poland :)

I have a question about security in Internet.
I'm active user of Internet and I have now some anxiety, maybe unjustified, but I have :(

I'm logged in webbrowser on my Google (Gmail) account (sometimes Facebook) and in this time I use other websites:
This is my Question:
Is my activity on these websites (and names of these websites) saving somewhere on servers: google, facebook or others servers information about me?
It worries me if in the future someone will be able to use information to against me (for example I'm talking with some person (not illegal topic for sure) on website discussion, but
maybe someone think that it can harm me and he/she do it, becouse have some reason - maybe I could be problem for him/her :( )
Could someone save information which gives him data who I am exactly and what I did in Internet and information about my Computer too?

Maybe this is stupid etc but trust me I have problem - I think I have 'Internet depression', which is very bothering for me :( Please understand me :)
Could I  use active e-mail, which save this data(about my activity) and could owner of this email server (for example Google, Facebook)  saving this data for ever about me and use it against me when he want?

Thank you very much in advance for help, information, which help me :)

Kind regards, Michael

 

 

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Soon GDPR will be applied in the EU which also means that personal data will have to be protected and permanently removed once you cancel your account / subscription.

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Hello Michael and welcome to the forum. We are glad you are here. As I am not in Europe (I'm in the USA), Marcos knows much about happenings in that continent as do some of the other forum users that you might bump into. These days, a bit of paranoia is not necessarily a bad thing. Here in the states, daily news of scams and folks being taken advantage of can be rather dismaying. But by using a safe surfing credo and using the available security tools (like ESET), you can minimize the risk. ESET has the "We live security" website   https://www.welivesecurity.com/ which you can access at the top on the forum webpage.

As far as Google is concerned, I avoid them at all cost. They are a large data collection driven organization (just my opinion) that collect your PI (personal information) data to "better serve you" (and increase their profits......again just my opinion). Many folks will swear allegiance to Google and that is their opinion.

I myself, like to pick and choose what services I use and deem necessary. I am a bit older and I do not need the service of social media (like Facebook). Social media, while providing some useful services, can also be full of pitfalls should you let your vigilance wane (again it's just my opinion). That is not my cup of tea.

Think about what would you do when you get an e-mail from an unknown party. Would you open that e-mail (and it's attachments)? I would hope not. But some folks would, akin to letting a total stranger into your home just because s/he knocked on your door.      

Keep in mind that your personal information (PI) is nothing but a commodity to these corporations. They will buy and sell it at their leisure...and not always to forthright, respectable, conscientious individuals or corporations.  

Just using common sense, not spreading your personal information all over the web and being aware of your (web) surroundings should be adequate. Keeping a low profile does have it's benefits.

Regards,

 

Edited by TomFace
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1 hour ago, SecureMichael said:

This is my Question:
Is my activity on these websites (and names of these websites) saving somewhere on servers: google, facebook or others servers information about me?

Assume anything entered on social media sites and the like can be harvested and potentially used negatively against you in some fashion. Therefore, be careful what you post there.

As far as Internet forums and the like although your logon id can hide you identity, you have to enter personal identifying information when registering for access to many of these forums and other web sites that allow comments to be posted. If this is a public web site, you should try to hide your true identity as much as possible. You might want to use a bogus e-mail address for example if that is required.

If privacy is of upmost importance, you might want to explore the use of a virtual private network(VPN) from a reliable provider. Note that the most those will charge a fee for use of the service.

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2 hours ago, itman said:

If privacy is of upmost importance, you might want to explore the use of a virtual private network(VPN) from a reliable provider. Note that the most those will charge a fee for use of the service.

That's the ticket itman.

And while we're on the subject of privacy,  don't neglect your browser settings. Check your privacy settings and your Do Not track settings in your add-ons (or looking into a anti-tracking program like Ghostery (https://www.ghostery.com/ ). Always download programs from the originator if at all possible (and review the download carefully) to minimize getting additional unwanted programs.  

Regards,

 

Edited by TomFace
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Hi Michael  and welcome to the forums.

I really don't see the need to use your real name or any other actual personal information when using email accounts or social media. I can't answer to any legalities about not using your real info. I can count five places where I actually used my real personal information when signing up mostly financial websites where there is no real choice or way not to use the real thing, at least that I can figure out. I have a specific email address that I use for junk and insignificant sign ups, one for personal contacts and others for financial needs. This will not help if someone really wants to find out who you are but it does well against the immature hacker wanna be that only has the goal of making your life miserable. When it comes to social media I find it amazing how much personal information people are willing to share without regard to the possible consequences.

You have made a wise choice with your selection of Eset for your system protection and now the rest is pretty much up to you. The weakest link in any system defense is the person between the chair and the keyboard.  Itman and Tom have offered excellent advice to which I will add change your passwords frequently on financial sites and even your email and don't use the same passwords for all like my daughter who seemed to really liked the password 12345678. Do not store your financial passwords on your computer. Try to store sensitive data on another drive not always connected to your computer. Make frequent backup images of your system on a separate external drive, it can be the fastest path to get back up and running should something go wrong.

Now it's up to you to take some time and educate yourself on the dangers and protections that you can use to avoid those dangers on the Internet. Just enter Computer Security in your search engine of choice and you will be presented with a wealth of information. Unfortunately a lot of it is well over my head but the basics should go a long way for you to protect yourself, it's worked for me. In addition this forum is very good with providing help and information from some of the best people on the planet.

Some healthy anxiety about the Internet can be a good thing. I suffer a bit of a minor Obsessive Compulsive Disorder when it comes to security on my computers. However I have been using Eset products for way to many years to count and have never had and infection or any other type of issues.  Needless to say that I am very careful about how I use the Internet.

My rule of thumb about saying or doing things on the Internet is that I do not say or do anything that I wouldn't say or do in person and in public. But that's just me. I use the Internet with the belief that once it's on the Internet it never ever really goes away. That is not to say that it would be easy to find. Only you can decide what is appropriate for yourself.

Be well,

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There's always debates on what information companies collect and hold on the public. There are tools like VPNs but software even security software can have bugs so nothing is ever 100 percent safe.

Most hacks these days however tend to be social engineering, basically tricking people. Always hover over links in emails to make sure they go to where they say and even if the link seems safe if it looks suspicious or is something like banking just delete it. You can always go to the website directly or contact your bank to be safe.

A lot of websites lately have suffered from data breaches so while having a good strong hard to guess password is a much it becomes pointless if you reuse that password on multiple sites. During a data breach passwords are often put online and/or sold on black markets. The first thing someone will try to do is access other accounts using the same login details. If they get access to your email account even if you used different passwords they can often use your email address to prove they are you and change passwords for other sites.

To be safe id recommend two factor authentication where available. You can also use popup blockers and tracker blockers to try and get some privacy. While some sites may block them i often use temporary email sites when signing up to sites im not sure of     

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On ‎2‎/‎17‎/‎2018 at 8:55 PM, SCR said:

Some healthy anxiety about the Internet can be a good thing. I suffer a bit of a minor Obsessive Compulsive Disorder when it comes to security on my computers. However I have been using Eset products for way to many years to count and have never had and infection or any other type of issues.  Needless to say that I am very careful about how I use the Internet.

My rule of thumb about saying or doing things on the Internet is that I do not say or do anything that I wouldn't say or do in person and in public. But that's just me. I use the Internet with the belief that once it's on the Internet it never ever really goes away. That is not to say that it would be easy to find. Only you can decide what is appropriate for yourself.

 

Yes, I too suffer ;) from the same PC security OCD traits (paranoia, anxiety or whatever you wish to call it). But the internet can be a dangerous place. Well put SCR ! 

15 hours ago, peteyt said:

Most hacks these days however tend to be social engineering, basically tricking people. Always hover over links in emails to make sure they go to where they say and even if the link seems safe if it looks suspicious or is something like banking just delete it. You can always go to the website directly or contact your bank to be safe.

A lot of websites lately have suffered from data breaches so while having a good strong hard to guess password is a much it becomes pointless if you reuse that password on multiple sites. During a data breach passwords are often put online and/or sold on black markets. The first thing someone will try to do is access other accounts using the same login details. If they get access to your email account even if you used different passwords they can often use your email address to prove they are you and change passwords for other sites.

To be safe id recommend two factor authentication where available. You can also use popup blockers and tracker blockers to try and get some privacy. While some sites may block them i often use temporary email sites when signing up to sites im not sure of     

Passwords (in additional to situational inattentiveness) are a primary shortcoming with many users. Frequent changes of passwords, and using as long a password that is allowed is a good safeguard. Locate a good password generator (like GRC  https://www.grc.com/shieldsup ) or a password manager that has a password generator (like LastPass https://www.lastpass.com/ ). ESET's own ESSP also contains a password manager (https://support.eset.com/kb6181/ ) but I do not know if it contains a password generator. These are just a few examples. I am sure there are many more. Look for something that fits your situation best by researching (but be leery of PC magazine/help websites as they might contained "sponsored :ph34r: content". 

Many good words of wisdom from itman, SCR and peteyt for you to ponder.

Regards,  

Edited by TomFace
correct typo
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  • 3 weeks later...

I was on an all-day training event yesterday, organised by my local authority employer. It was a two-part course, the first part concerning the legalities (in the UK) that we have to comply with if we are going to be using covert surveillance, but the second part, which covered things like data collection by the likes of Google, Facebook, etc, was fascinating and troublesome at the same time. At the end of the session, most of us were shocked to discover what data is being kept on servers around the world (sometimes for many years) and how easy it is for someone with the appropriate knowledge to drill down and find out personal information about internet users, even in some cases to being able to find out where someone lives and even if said persons think they have locked down all their personal data. Facebook was singled out as being particularly poor on security. I think we live in an age where we have to be very careful what information we reveal and to whom. Young people are probably most at risk in that respect because they haven't had sufficient life experience to be wary. One thing is for sure, we all need good security programs on our computers and I'm pleased to have discovered ESET Internet Security, which has already flagged up a few things that my previous security software failed to find.

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