Internet privacy is the privacy and security level of personal data published via the Internet. It is a broad term that refers to a variety of factors, techniques and technologies used to protect sensitive and private data, communications, and preferences. Internet privacy and anonymity are paramount to users, especially as e-commerce continues to gain traction. Privacy violations and threat risks are standard considerations for any website under development. Internet privacy is also known as online privacy.
Internet privacy is cause for concern for any user planning to make an online purchase, visit a social networking site, participate in online games or attend forums. If a password is compromised and revealed, a victim’s identity may be fraudulently used or stolen.
Internet privacy risks include:
- Phishing: An Internet hacking activity used to steal secure user data, including username, password, bank account number, security PIN or credit card number.
- Pharming: An Internet hacking activity used to redirect a legitimate website visitor to a different IP address.
- Spyware: An offline application that obtains data without a user’s consent. When the computer is online, previously acquired data is sent to the spyware source.
- Malware: An application used to illegally damage online and offline computer users through Trojans, viruses and spyware.
Internet privacy violation risks may be minimized, as follows:
- Always use preventative software applications, such as anti-virus, anti-malware, anti-spam and firewalls
- Avoid shopping on unreliable websites
- Avoid exposing personal data on websites with lower security levels
- Clear the browser’s cache and browsing history on a consistent basis
- Always use very strong passwords consisting of letters, numerals and special characters