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Online Privacy: Why Do You Need to Protect it? (Part 1)

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Introduction

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Let’s dive into the important topic of online privacy, without wasting any time.

How One Click on Malicious Email Link led to World’s Biggest Bank Robbery?

The Bangladesh Bank robbery, also known colloquially as the Bangladesh Bank cyber heist, took place in February 2016, when thirty-five fraudulent instructions were issued by security hackers via the SWIFT network to illegally transfer close to the US $1 billion from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York account belonging to Bangladesh Bank, the central bank of Bangladesh.

This robbery happened when one bank employee clicked on a malicious email, which actually hacked into the Bank’s server.

Five of the thirty-five fraudulent instructions were successful in transferring $101 million, with $20 million traced to Sri Lanka and $81 million to the Philippines.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York blocked the remaining thirty transactions, amounting to $850 million, due to suspicions raised by a misspelled instruction.

All the money transferred to Sri Lanka has since been recovered.

However, as of 2018 only around $18 million of the $81 million transferred to the Philippines has been recovered.

Most of the money transferred to the Philippines went to four personal accounts, held by single individuals, and not to companies or corporations. It was later suspected that Dridex malware was used for the attack.

For full details please watch the video posted below:-

Courtesy – Youtube

Mark Zukerberg Sells Your Online Privacy to Buy His Own Privacy?

PALO ALTO — Living the fantasy of every homeowner who’s faced the prospect of a nuisance project next door.

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg had bought four homes adjacent to his own 5-bedroom crash pad in one of Palo Alto’s toniest neighborhoods.

Zuckerberg paid top dollar — more than $30 million in total — for the four residential properties located next door and behind his own home.

But he has no plans to build a Taj Mahal on the land, according to a person with knowledge of the transactions, who said Zuckerberg is leasing the existing homes back to the families that live there.

privacy

Manipulating Neighbourhood. The 29-year-old multibillionaire acted after he learned of a developer’s plan to buy one of the properties, next door to the Facebook co-founder, said the source.

“The developer was going to build a huge house and market the property as being next door to Mark Zuckerberg.”

Zuckerberg, who lived for many years in modest rented digs, reportedly paid $7 million two years ago for the 5,000-square-foot home in Palo Alto’s Crescent Park neighborhood, where he lives with his wife, physician Priscilla Chan.

Zuckerberg, whose personal fortune is estimated at $19 billion, also owns a home in San Francisco.

Shopping Spree. Zuckerberg’s shopping spree started in December last year when public records show the home directly behind his was sold to a legal entity associated with Iconiq Capital, a San Francisco firm that handles financial matters for Zuckerberg and other wealthy individuals.

Manipulated Purchase. Then last month, two more homes behind Zuckerberg’s and one next door were bought by entities associated with Iconiq, according to public records.

Zuckerberg paid different prices for each home, shelling out more than $14 million for one 2,600-square-foot dwelling.

A local real estate agent called the amount “absurdly high,” even for that pricey neighborhood.

But James Yang, an agent with Sereno Group who focuses on Palo Alto and neighboring towns, said the price is less surprising “if somebody wants to buy a property and the sellers don’t want to sell”.

Courtesy – Youtube

Understanding the Reasons For Online Surveillance.

Before going ahead for our recommendations to protect your online privacy, first, we need to understand the problems in the following steps:-

How does anyone track you?

What your private online data is collected?

How is your online private data is sold to third parties for in exchange for fortune?

Types of Online Surveillance

Surveillance someone’s privacy can be classified into three parts:-

  • Individual Surveillance
  • Geotracking of smartphones, tablets and laptops.
  • Corporate Surveillance 
  • Government Surveillance

Individual surveillance

This type of surveillance is done in the following cases:-

Spying. When someone is spying on an individual, which is very much relevant in the cases of politicians, Armed Forces personnel and 

Terror Activities. When some sort of tracking is done to evaluate one’s involvement in terrorist related activities.

Stalking. Stalking by some heartbroken lovers, who try to track their love interest, so as to create problems in their smooth lives.

Corporate Edge. When some corporate company tries to spy on a high profile official for extracting business related secrets.

Hackers. Hackers, who are on lookout or tracking rich people, in order to

Geotracking

While using location-based services in apps like Google Maps, Foursquare, and Uber can make our lives more convenient, there are real risks in doing so.

To protect yourself, you need to learn what kind of location-based data you are sharing online and how this data poses a threat to your online privacy—as well as your physical self.

How is Geotracking is used to track you? People can track your location through your devices.

If you use a computer, your IP address can narrow down your location.

When you are on a mobile device, such as a cell phone or tablet, individuals can track your location via GPS or through a combination of cellular tower data, Wi-Fi signals, and Bluetooth beacons.

Many of the apps you use (and the companies behind them) also track you.

In fact, more than 1,000 apps, including Yelp, Foursquare, Google Maps, Uber, MapMyRun, Tinder, and Facebook, use location tracking services. And some of these companies continue to track you even if you have location data turned off in the app’s settings.

The logic given behind tracking your geolocation, as claimed by these tech companies is to provide you with better services. But this is the biggest fraudulent statement.

For example, Facebook still uses IP addresses and other data such as your profile city and your check-ins to target ads to you.

Individuals can also track your location through the metadata attached to the photos you share online.

This data includes GPS coordinates, which most cell phones and digital cameras automatically embed, or geotag, in every photo you take.

This information identifies where you were when you took the picture and travels with your photos when you post them on the Internet.

People also manually add geotags to their photos on apps like Instagram to make them more searchable.

How is Your Online Data is Decoded and Processed? By looking at your location data, anyone can discover the following:

  • Where you sleep, and thus where you live?
  • Your income level, based on where you live.
  • Where you work, and what kind of work you do?
  • What stores do you frequent?
  • The route you take to work.
  • If you regularly go to a gym.
  • When you take a vacation, and where you stay?

Because this kind of data gives marketing companies such as microscopic insights into consumer behavior, many businesses are willing to pay big money for it. In fact, sales of geotargeted mobile ads are expected to reach $38.7 billion by 2022.

How the burglars and stalkers can use Geotracking to target you? In addition to making you a target for ads, geotracking can put you at physical risk.

One notable example of this happening is when Strata, a fitness-tracking app, posted a heat map of its users across the world, with individual users’ exercise routes highlighted.

Unfortunately, the heat map revealed the activities of US soldiers exercising at secret bases in the Middle East—essentially blowing their cover.

Even if you’re not a soldier, location tracking can make you more vulnerable to attacks.
Nowadays, we all walk around with our devices in our pockets, in our purses, or in our backpacks. And even though we’re not touching them, they’re recording where we travel and when.
By cross-referencing a map of your activity with information about you garnered from a simple Google search, people with bad intentions can access a wealth of data about every element of your daily life.

Stalking or Harassment. The availability of this kind of detailed information puts you at risk for stalking or harassment.

For example, if you visit the same pastry shop every Sunday morning, then someone who is tracking your movements will be able to identify the best time and place to confront you.

Importantly, it also tells thieves where you won’t be every Sunday morning, thus notifying them of the best time to rob you.

Corporate Surveillance

Promises For Safety Of Your Online Privacy. All major tech companies are seeling their services with the promise of protecting your personal information or data and “NOT” selling it to advertisers, in exchange for monetary benefits or money. That’s how they are luring you into their ecosystem.

Many websites that offer their services “for free” have a stipulation in their policies that, in exchange for using their services, they are allowed to track what you do on the Internet. If you don’t want to be tracked, they say, then don’t use their websites.

“Big 5” are literally everywhere.

Big 5 Tech Companies. The “big five” — Apple, Alphabet (Owns Google), Microsoft, Facebook and Amazon — now have a combined valuation of over $3.3 trillion, and make up more than 40 percent of the value of the Nasdaq 100 index.

privacy

As the digital economy continues to grow faster than the old economy, it’s hard to see what can stop these juggernauts. Unless reality intrudes.

After all, what exactly is their business?

Who are their customers?

What role do they play in the economy?

Each answer points toward some limit on the size, scale and profitability of these giants.

These companies are big for a reason: Nearly every aspect of the digital economy touches them in some way or another.

We know that Facebook and Google represent a digital advertising duopoly.

We know that Amazon is gobbling up more and more of e-commerce.

Amazon, Google and Microsoft are leaders in providing cloud services.

Apple sells high-margin smartphones and other computing devices.

Put it all together, and you’re talking about hundreds of billions of dollars of annual revenue and tens of billions of dollars in profits.

How Big 5 Tech Companies Earn Profits? What’s forgotten as these companies seemingly gobble up the rest of the economy is, they remain dependent upon customers who get value from their services.

Companies advertise on Facebook and Google, only if they’ve determined it’s more profitable than not doing so.

Cloud revenue requires the existence of profitable businesses that need business software and services.

Third-party vendors choose to sell on Amazon because it’s profitable for them to do so.

In other words, for the most part, the Big 5 tech companies exist at their current size and scale only because they serve a larger underlying economy of profitable companies.

How “Big 5” Track Your Online Information?

What in the world… why are you seeing ads for things that you just did on the Internet?

The answer is that, by using certain websites and clicking certain hyperlinks, you’re generating information that companies like Google and Facebook can collect.

They then sell that information to advertising agencies, which then use it to display certain advertisements to people on certain websites, based on the specific person’s browsing activities. 

If you run a cookie or some tracking script on some random website OR some game you love playing has some Facebook code in it, which secretly sends all your personal data from your smartphone to the Facebook server.

Personal data like call records, photos in the gallery, SMSes, chats, emails, etc.

This personal data will be forwarded to the Facebook server, even if you don’t have a Facebook account or Facebook mobile app is not installed on your smartphone.

So, now your personal data are “LINKED”.

An online profile is developed in your name, based on the use of smartphones, mobile app, which will help these big tech companies to channelize the advertisement feeds into your smartphone screen.

So, where ever you go, BIG 5 have their eyes on you, through your smartphone or laptop usage patter ever ready to monetize through Push Notifications on smartphones or email ids.

At any moment of your life, BIG 5 is following you digitally. From communication, socializing, chatting, web browsing, web searching, shopping, streaming, or living your virtual life, in whatever way you can imagine.

This “DATA LINKABILITY” is the biggest menace for your digital privacy and thus deriving a pattern for data hoarders.

If data hoarders, find two matching data points then you are “LINKED”.

To regain your online privacy means cutting the link between data points and the best way to do this is by “COMPARTMENTALISATION“.

That means, isolating these activities into their different data compartments.

We need to be extremely careful with data providers so that no one service provider is trusted with more than one service at a time.

So, an email provider should only handle your emails and not your search engine or instant messenger.

Government surveillance

There are some governments around the world, like China, Iran, Israel, etc that are very interested in what their citizens do online.

Countries like the USA not only track their own citizens but also track citizens from other countries in the World, so as to directly control the World’s political and economic fabric and in the name of controlling terrorism around the World.

Many of these countries have agencies that track where people go on the Internet and what they do there, looking for “suspicious” or “immoral” activity. 

Some governments even have systems in place that actually block people from going to certain websites.

Privacy on the Internet is of utmost importance for people who live in these countries. 

It allows them to do certain things online — such as watching a funny video clip, reading newspapers from around the world, or chatting with their friends on social media — that we might take for granted, yet are forbidden in the country where they live.

Now that you know about some of the ways that people protect their privacy on the Internet — and some legitimate reasons why they do so — it’s time for you to learn how to be privacy-wise online. 

The Government surveillance by tracking your smartphone is covered in other article Is your smartphone being Tracked? Beware!

What to do?

In our other related article Best Tricks to Protect Your Online Privacy (Part 1) and Best Tricks to Protect Your Online Privacy (Part 2) some general privacy-related things on the Internet to be aware of, including website policies and targeted advertising practices.  

Then, we’ll teach you some basic and advanced methods of staying private on the Internet, and explain why doing these things protects your online privacy. 

In the article Best Tricks To Protect Your Smartphone Security (Part 1), we will explain how you can save your online privacy by increasing your smartphone’s security.

Lastly, we’ll go over some of the neat technologies that help keep your online life strictly your own business.

Thank you for spending some time with us!

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Courtesy:-

www.youtube.com

www.techboomers.com

www.mercurynews.com

www.bloomberg.com

www.reputationdefender.com

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