All your actions on the Web leave traces that are collected and monetized. Websites do not hesitate to try to learn more about you to target ads, while hackers steal entire databases, often with sensitive information like passwords, and resell them on the dark web. Fortunately, there are tools to improve its security and protect its privacy.
In our information society, personal data has become the object of all greed. The various actors of the Web do not hesitate to collect all the possible information concerning you, some legally and with your consent, others by indirect means or even theft.
Browsing the Web leaves traces, even without creating an account on the sites you visit. Users are tracked by cookies, small files that allow sites to store information, as well as by their IP address. However, creating an account represents a real gold mine for web giants, who can then track your browsing through all sites that use their tools. An extension called Big Tech Detective displays for each site visited if it loads content from Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Amazon. In the end, few do not use these companies for advertising or analysis of visits.
Thanks to this data, it is possible to draw up a profile of the user and infer personal information. Smartphones are certainly the worst culprits when it comes to information gathering. A recent study has shown that simple geolocation is enough to guess health, socio-economic status, ethnicity and religion. Some believe that the bulk of information collected by sites like Google or Facebook could be worth between $5 and $20 a month.
Your data sold on the dark web
Concerning the data obtained illegally, it is paradoxically easier to estimate the price because this information is resold on the dark web. According to the price index published by PrivacyAffairs, a pirated account can be resold up to 65 dollars for Facebook or even 80 dollars for Gmail.
The site also indicates that lists of email addresses sell at around $10, the size varying by country. The price is the same for 380,000 addresses coming from Austria or 4.78 million addresses from Mexico. A database was recently published on the dark web, containing the personal and medical data of nearly 500,000 French. It was published free of charge, but some believe it could have sold between 2,000 and 3,000 euros.
Surfshark offers tools to protect your privacy
One way to protect yourself is with a VPN like Surfshark. Your connection is then encrypted and all the data exchanged goes through their servers. The sites you visit now only see the IP address of the VPN and therefore can no longer track you by this means. Even your service provider can no longer follow your navigation.
Surfshark also offers two other services. «Surfshark Search» is a search engine that, unlike Google which collects all the searches you perform, does not record any data to respect your privacy and does not display any advertising. Surfshark Alert monitors online data leaks. You will be notified if your email address is included in one of the exposed databases. In addition, if you have used the same password for your Surfshark account, the service requires you to change it to preserve the security of your data.