Introduction

The Internet is the need for everyone in this day and age. The number of internet users worldwide is increasing day by day. With such a massive amount of user-base, it is essential to pay attention to internet security. Choosing a good ISP is very important because a trusted ISP will provide a better and a secure internet experience. 

We’ve all seen the turmoil caused when the Facebook – Cambridge Analytica data scam came up. The substantial monetary and reputational cost the social media giant had to pay for letting millions of users’ information to a third-party app for a political purpose will always remain a black spot on its history. 

Data privacy is a big deal for the internet conglomerates we all rely upon for our daily online needs. So, does your internet provider, which is the network you use to connect with the internet, spy on you? Well, the answer is yes! After a whole lot of buzz on it and the laws to protect us, we all are still spied. 

Many people know this, but leave it ignored as it does not interfere with their routine lives. But it is essential to understand why, how, and what they do in the name of ‘spying’; thus, getting to know how we can protect ourselves from surveillance.

Why They Do It

Most ISPs do not spy specific data from specific people and sell it to third parties as people speculate, but they need demographics. Meaning, they collect particular interests based on the searches and visits by a group of people (possibly thousands) for the market. As per the regulations of TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India), which controls the functioning of telecom providers, they cannot straightforwardly sell identifiable data to a third party. 

But ‘metadata,’ which is the data on not what you communicate, but things like to whom and when you communicate, can be transferred to another party or the government. Breaching a citizen’s privacy is a crime. Yet, in national security cases, corrupt officials, or employees, or even if the whole network you use is dishonest, data can be let oozed out!

How They Do It

All that we do are registered to the ISP. When you search, your browser sends a domain name system (DNS) that obtains the required site’s IP address. Use this 192.168.254.254 IP login guide to get the ID and password for your IP address. The DNS is an index accessible to all, and the ISP can see all requests made to this. This is how they get your data.

What They Spy On

This depends upon the data you make available in public. They can have information about your search history, time, and frequency of your online habits, etc. This can extend to more private stuff like your location (if you allow), your sensitive data i.e., details of cash transactions and bank accounts, passwords, and pins, the contents of your online communications via email/social networking sites, etc. However, the latter kind of information is encrypted and protected in most circumstances.

Now that you are aware there’s a degree of vulnerability to all of us online, and the need of being protected, here’s how you can

Protect Yourself From Your ISP Spying

1. HTTPS

First and foremost thing everyone can make sure of is: that you use HTTPS (hypertext transfer protocol secure) while browsing. Suppose you find the green lock sign entailed by the acronym and your site address. 

That means your data is encrypted, or content is protected by a code that cannot be identified by a third party other than the sender and receiver of the communication. To a large extent, this is effective.

2. VPN

Use a VPN (a virtual private network) that creates a closed system away from a public connection. Do note, when you use, use one that does not log you. Many VPNs log their users, which makes no difference from the registry that your ISP makes. NordVPN is a reliable source for this purpose. 

While using VPN, most people make one common mistake is not turning it on, on all devices they use. If you just lock your home’s front door and let all other doors open, you know what will happen. You can also check and make sure what the DNS your device uses before adjusting it. It will probably be the DNS of your ISP.

3. Tor Browser

If you need extra protection for your online activity, shed your standard browsers, and use the Tor Browser. Tor uses numerous virtual networks that act as relays, making you unable to trace.

Pro Tip: While using common browsers, putting in incognito mode will help you evade the surveillance of the online sites you shop. The ad of your recently searched/purchased product does not appear on your social media handles/search engines. However, this won’t help you hide your data from your ISP.

Conclusion

In this unique point of time when the COVID-19 pandemic has turned almost everything in life. This includes education, work, cash transactions, etc. to be fully online, for activities that require the most security (e.g., online sales, overpriced purchases, sensitive communication, etc.), use a VPN. 

VPN helps you to browse securely as your IP address is not visible to anyone while you’re using it. This helps keep your data secure as hackers won’t know your IP address and cannot harm you in any way. 

Because, to threaten, attack, exploit, fraud, or deceive people or organizations, it’s far profitable and more accessible via the internet, than barging into their places in real life.

As we all have moved to be digital natives, it’s vital to imbibe how we can stay safe and sound in the virtual space. They’re comparatively new lessons to us, and they evolve at a rapid rate, so timely updating is also a requisite. 

We protect our material belongings with locks, walls, and a myriad of security, so we should know to protect our virtual data. Because privacy is our fundamental right, and its infringement is a criminal offense.

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