Lately in the news, it seems like internet and online anonymity is becoming more and more a hot topic. Whether its the NSA reading our emails, ISP recording our ip addresses, online predators chatting with our children or even mundane everyday creeps like targeted ads that seem to read our minds and follow us wherever we go on the internet, online privacy seems like a thing of the past. On the evening of February 7th I decided to try an app called LightBeam. This app, which is designed for Firefox, claims to shed light on who watches while we surf and what kind of digital trail we actually leave behind. Now while it is a genuine accomplishment in the pursuit of web transparency, the results were certainly a bit discomforting. In the 25 minute span I spent surfing the net, i visited 12 sites but connected with 136! To put it in perspective, while i was enjoying a casual update on my usual frequents, unbeknownst to me, I was connecting with a site every 11 seconds. This kind of eye opening data really demonstrates just how easy it is for a sites to track your movements. While I trust the sites I visited, despite the fact some of the sites that connected with me had suspiciously generic names like mirror.com(and one called GiantBomb.com that had me a bit worried), I now lack a feeling of control of my digital experience that I am not accustomed to. I decided to do something about it. While there are many things a person can do to help cloak themselves online, I have since subscribed to a VPN provider. For those who need a bit background knowledge a VPN is a virtual private network which allows a user to send and receive data from the internet via a shared network (aka the VPN) thus allowing a user to access the internet while being provided the security and anonymity that the VPN provider offers. Its incredibly affordable and it helped regain my confidence in my online security.
Here is a link to VPN provider I decided to use. I highly recommend it.