Episode 4 of Safe in the wild, the week after cyber sale weekend, and my question to you is this, did you get through the online shopping without getting your data compromised?

Welcome to part 3 of our privacy topic, so with this being part 3 make sure you catch part1 and 2, I promise you, you will not be wasting your time.

Ok with the admin done, lets jump into this episode!

If you can recall from part 1 of privacy, you connect to the internet via an internet service provider, since they manage your connection, I’d like to shed some light into what they can potentially see over the connection that they manage, and the short answer is EVERYTHING!

Ok Seriously, let me give you 4.

  1. The exact sites you visit, and your passwords. Back to episode of 2 of “Safe in the wild” one of the three points to protect yourself. If you have ever made a purchase on an insecure website meaning the URL down not begin with https, your ISP would know what you bought, the username and password you use for that account and any payment information that you entered. If the website, you did your shopping on started with https then your ISP would know you visited the site but not what you did on it.
  2. So I come across this a lot, people using email providers that do not use encryption, this is a headache for us IT guys because sometimes when you send an email from an account that does not use encryption, corporate email servers bounce your email. But back to what the ISP can see. Your ISP can potentially see the contents of all your emails and if your ISP happens to be your email provider, they can.
  3. This one is for you torrenters, your ISP can see every time you use BitTorrent to download files, even if it is a legal download, like a game update. With that said; if your ISP notices that you are using a lot of bandwidth on torrents, they might throttle your download speed especially if you are on a home and not a corporate connection. Prepare to get throttled.
  4. Last of the 4, because of the way Bitcoin clients communicate, and the well-established ports that they communicate through, your ISP can quite easily see if you use Bitcoin. By simply observing your traffic they can tell when a bitcoin transaction is created by you, or if it is a payment made to you. Pretty scary stuff.

There are some serious privacy concerns as to what your ISP can tell about the habits of a household by simply observing the internet usage of that house. When you are home, When you are asleep, what time you come home from work, what time you leave for work, and with every device uniquely identifiable they can make an informed estimation as to how many people are in the house. Again that’s some pretty scary stuff.

Before you even get onto the internet you have this huge privacy hole called your ISP. Do not get me wrong, I am not saying that your ISP is doing this, I am sure most of them are not. But with it sometimes taking years for organizations to realize their network has been hacked and their systems have been compromised added to the fact that big corporations are terrible at telling people they have been hacked, so their users can take the appropriate steps to protect themselves. Like change their passwords, a targeted attack on an ISP would prove fruitful for the hacker.

Ok, I would like to leave you guys with 2 considerations in this episode and please bear in mind that these 2 are a separate episode, so you will need to do your own homework to gather some more information.

  1. If you can afford it and you know how I suggest you use a VPN with a router that supports using a VPN on it. When I say VPN, I do not mean the VPN you use to connect to your corporate network, I mean a VPN service like express VPN or Cyber Ghost. The advantage of using a router that supports you setting up the VPN on it, is you do not need to install the VPN app on every device that connects to your network.
  2. Download the Tor browser to browse the internet. Like a VPN the tor browser allows you to be anonymous on the internet, the functional difference between the tor browser and a VPN is the browser only allows anonymity and privacy in the browser but the VPN allows it on all internet traffic

Ok, I have just given you a lot of info that needs some digesting and a little bit of homework on your part so to close things off.

  • Your ISP is a big privacy hole and if you do not take the correct precautions before you jump on the internet your ISP becomes a massive security risk for you.
  • If you do not feel like doing the homework on the Tor browser and VPNs just tune in next week as I will be doing a more in-depth but user friendly episode about these 2 privacy tools that are available for consumer to better protect themselves online.

So until next time guys remember, to safe in the wild.

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