Each computer stores personal data, and the astonishing fact is that user is not aware of it. Everyone breaks one of the privacy commandments from time to time. “Do not share personal data”. The forbidden luxury of saving the personally identifiable data on the computer is easier to access but a whole lot harder to regain. However, even the saints are storing the data on their hard disks without knowing.
The evolution of the Internet and all the sins and blesses that came with it gives and takes on a daily basis. The great discoveries are made using digital landscape. The people are united in one global arena of digital information. The everlasting flow of free information is to everyone’s benefit. No longer are the people confided to walls and gates. The digital space is free and opened for everyone. Anyone can seek the information.
Personal Data Hunters
“Information wants to be free” - Such is the motto of hackers. The hackers are computer enthusiasts, questioning everything. Their sole goal is to play the strategic game of codes to make or break something.
They have been wrongfully categorized with criminals using codes to steal. The cybercriminals as they are called are on the hunt for information. Not just any information, but personally identifiable information.
The easy way of collecting personal data attracts marketing agencies and manufacturers as well. They are seeking the gold. The information is a solid gold for them. Based on this information the companies decrease the time to invent new products and increase the profit by serving the market with what the people desire.
The Personal Data Stored on Your Computer You Never Knew About
The Cookie Feast
Everyone uses their computers daily, to visit favorite websites. It is all fine and well when you have fun, but what exactly is going on in the background?
When your computer connects to the Internet, the Internet Service Provider (ISP) gives it a certain number. This string of numbers is called IP address, which is unique for every computer on the Internet. IP address is much similar to the street address, it determines your location.
Once you visit a website, that page stretches a hand to your computer. The connection between the website’s server and your device creates virtual conversation. While they chat, your Internet Browser receives a cookie as a gift for visiting the website. This cookie is stored on the computer and will play a binding role between the website and your device in the future.
What is the cookie made of? It consists of the name of the cookie, the value of the cookie, the path or URL the cookie was assigned to, and expiration date. The cookies are harmless by themselves, but the Internet is a vast place and the possibilities are numerous. The string of codes defines a certain information your computer communicated to the website. That is:
- Operating System
- Screen Resolution
- Internet Browser
- Applications installed
- Credit Card information you entered.
This information is neatly packed away in the Internet Browser files. Each cookie stores the data of you, designed to enhance your experience on the website. The average user will never even know it’s there. There is nothing to distinguish this file from others.
The More you Save the More is Free
On some occasions, the information goes beyond the simple computer specifications. However, living in a digital world we enter wholeheartedly without a minute to think.
Apart from each website delivering cookies, the major companies use cross-device tracking. What it basically means is that the server recognizes email address, each time you sign in to the account from different device, including the one from work. The system automatically assumes it belongs to you. How is this possible? Each device has a geo-location tracker, which determines the proximity of the devices.
Speaking of information, opening all kinds of accounts is necessary in today’s world. Each time you open an account another information is stored on your person.
Even saving a text file with the newly made password you cannot possibly remember is exposed. The unconscious act of writing down a credit card number posting it online or saving it on a computer is a step closer to doom.
Now you have stored a password, credit card number, and perhaps even more information you don’t remember. The text files containing the data will seldom have a direct name “passwords”. The file goes neglected and forgotten for days, weeks, months.
The FBI has stated that cybercriminal groups evolve thriving on free and exposed personal data. The cybercriminals will not just browse through your files but read them in detail. Unfortunately, they are not as negligent as us.
This is the base principle by which the security software developers go by. No file will be left unturned with any of the privacy software on the market. Software such as Identity Theft Preventer, scans within text files, recognizing the personal data and reports back to the user. Each of them is designed differently, but one thing they have in common is privacy protection.
If we as users don’t monitor which data we leave online, the greater the chance of exposure. As if it is not enough, technology has produced online public tools for people search. Practically anyone can be found, and any information is available. The free online tools run a complete background check, anything from criminal records, jobs, location, social media, and email accounts. Do you dare to check the amount of your own information online?
Keywords: FBI, Identity Theft Preventer
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