Browsing the web in China is one thing but staying secure and private is still an important aspect that a lot of Internet users do not pay attention to no matter the location.
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- 1 Browsing the web in China is one thing but staying secure and private is still an important aspect that a lot of Internet users do not pay attention to no matter the location.
by Jolie Lenkewicz
A few easy tricks will help to make you more secure and not so easily traceable whether you’re in China or in an entirely different country, as this list of tips is helpful to any Internet user.
It’s easy to notice that most of the websites in the address bar start with HTTP. However, be mindful when giving out personal information on such sites as the connection might be unsecure and you won’t be sure whether your information was safely sent to the website.
HTTPS websites are more secure meaning that personal data is safe and private when sent to the website (credit card credentials, etc.). Moreover, it adds an additional layer of security when browsing and you can see the little lock nearby stating that the site is ‘secure’.
Testing for DNS leaks
All Internet users are assigned to a DNS server that is assigned to an Internet Service Provider (ISP). When Internet users visit websites, the assigned DNS server sends a request for the IP address. This helps to track and record user activity. Some tools might help to hide your IP address but leaks still happen and your real IP as well as your personal data might be leaking. It’s crucial to test whether your DNS is leaking and there are websites that do such tests. If you’re trying out a new security service, software, tool or extension, always test it out for DNS leaks to be sure it’s effective.
Search engine and browser
Not using or not being to be able to use Google has its advantages and disadvantages. Google tracks and collects every piece of information possible – passwords, logins, personal data, credit card information and more. Having saved passwords is a convenient feature but your privacy is at risk because the credentials become easier accessible.
A search engine that does not track you should do the deal, the most famous of such being DuckDuckGo, Privatelee and a few others. Also, Chrome is the most intrusive browser that collects pretty much everything but with a bit research, you can find a private browser (Tor, Comodo Dragon, Epic Privacy and others) that will make your Internet experience safer.
Social media is probably one of the biggest sources that gives out your personal information, though users think that they are the ones who control what kind of information they share online. In truth, most social media users cannot really determine what information gets shared, as you share it with multiple people, websites (‘login with Facebook’) and applications. One-click login is a timesaver, however, it has its drawback of information being easily accessed.
Another thing you might notice but not really pay attention to is cookies. Users absent-mindedly agree to websites storing cookies but most don’t really know what they do and what they are agreeing to. Cookies store and remember information about the Internet user and their activity on certain websites – what you’re searching for in the search bar, what kind of articles are you reading in the news section, what are you buying when shopping online and more. It can be said that cookies collect information about users and make it easier for them to be targeted by personalized ads and content. Browser and search engine settings as well as various extensions can help to block data tracking and collection.
Virtual private network (VPN)
A VPN is a software that encrypts your Internet activities, hides your IP address, lets you bypass geographical restrictions and keeps you safe and private even from your ISP. A virtual private network is a great tool that helps to secure its users from third-parties, hackers and data-theft. Most VPNs have advanced features like malware and ad blockers, the ability to whitelist and blacklist certain websites and the multi-device feature lets you protect not only your computer but your tablet and your smartphone as well.
While overcoming the Great Firewall of China is one thing, it is important to know some tips and tricks to stay secure and private whether you are using Google or Baidu, as the same rules for privacy and security still apply.
Also published on Medium.