83% of Aussies worry about being tracked online, and 27% think they are monitored almost at all times.
This is according to a new survey by the cybersecurity company, NordVPN.
Digital privacy experts have examined the online landscape and reveal that people can be tracked by almost any device connected to the internet.
However, experts say that people make themselves trackable by accepting cookies, using public Wi-Fi, and even having a smartwatch — these are just some of the many ways data is collected.
“It’s not only cybercriminals who want your data. Social media networks, ISPs, third-party organizations, websites, and governmental institutions regularly collect users’ personal data and browsing habits for marketing or other purposes”.
WHO IS TRACKING?
The study found that most Australians believe that they are mostly tracked by criminals (65%) and social media giants like Facebook (48%).
It’s not surprising they also feel that Facebook (78%), WhatsApp (21%), and Instagram (40%) collect the biggest amount of their users’ data.
Ironically, all three services belong to the same company. It’s worth adding that more than half of Australians (60%) feel that apps ask for more information than necessary.
Aussies also worry about brands or advertising agencies (40%), information and advertising aggregators like Google (45%), and the government (36%) following their activities online.
BANKING AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION
The survey showed that Aussies are most afraid of getting their banking or financial information (68%) and passwords (61%) hacked.
They are also anxious about hacked emails (18%), personal or intimate photos, videos (16%), and address (23%).
Even though Australians are afraid of getting their financial information hacked, more than a third (38%) save their banking log-in details on various devices, which is dangerous.
“Entering your credit card details every time you buy something online might not seem convenient, but this is the right thing to do. The internet is not a safe place, and you shouldn’t trust third parties with your details,” says Daniel Markuson from NordVPN.
HOW ARE AUSTRALIANS TRACKED?
People use smartphones all day, every day — for work, fun, to get in touch with friends, or to order groceries.
Perhaps that’s why 84% of Aussies believe that their mobile phones are the best way to track them online, followed by laptops or desktop computers (78% and 73%, respectively) and tablets (66%).
At the same time, few people consider smart home appliances capable of spying — they were named the least likely culprits.
When it comes to the utilisation of people’s online data, the majority of Australians believe it is used for targeted ads (68%) and sold to other companies (64%).
While thinking that cybercriminals track Australians the most, people also assume that their data is analysed to steal their identity (50%).
The study also found 15% of Aussies always allow cookies, and 26% do so unless it looks suspicious – only 5% never accept them.
“Another area where people often get caught out is accepting cookies. They can track and collect data from your browser and send that data back to the website owner. If you don’t decline third-party cookies, the website can sell your browsing data to those third parties,” comments Daniel Markuson from NordVPN.
When you use the internet, there is a good chance any website you visit is managed by a third-party provider, which gets you online in exchange for your valuable sign-up data, such as email address, social media profile, and phone number.
What isn’t explored is the fact some providers are taking data collection a step further.
“They are quietly tracking millions of users, even after they have left the establishment,” reveals Markuson.
Australians are most likely to log into their personal emails (38%) and use social media channels with auto log-ins (37%) while on public Wi-Fi, as well. Additionally, many people used public Wi-Fi to log into other accounts (31%) and buy from online retailers (22%).
“While we are always tracked in one way or another whenever we go online, you can and should minimise it,” he adds.
“Get a VPN to hide your IP and location, use a privacy browser, ditch Google which tracks a lot of data about you, and just be more careful online. Keep your good cyber hygiene habits to stay safe.”
If you would like to become less trackable, check our experts’ recommendations here: https://nordvpn.com/tracked-down/
NordVPN is the world’s most advanced VPN service provider used by over 14 million internet users worldwide. NordVPN provides double VPN encryption, malware blocking, and Onion Over VPN.
The product is very user-friendly, offers one of the best prices on the market, has over 5,000 servers in 60 countries worldwide, and is P2P-friendly. One of the key features of NordVPN is the zero-log policy.
For more information: nordvpn.com.
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