The Pegasus

What I Learned From My Parents’ Privacy Breach

Visit+Panopticlick.eff.org+to+test+how+safe+your+browser+is+against+tracking.
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What I Learned From My Parents’ Privacy Breach

Visit Panopticlick.eff.org to test how safe your browser is against tracking.

Visit Panopticlick.eff.org to test how safe your browser is against tracking.

Visit Panopticlick.eff.org to test how safe your browser is against tracking.

Visit Panopticlick.eff.org to test how safe your browser is against tracking.

Genesis Sandoval, Editor

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Googling yourself can be fun. It gives us a chance to see what everyone else can see about us online. Some of us may have a nonexistent online presence, while others may have a much larger presence of the internet, and that can definitely be really cool. I’d be lying though if I said I wasn’t terrified when I found a website listing my parents’ address, phone number, family members, and friends. This discovery pushed me into realizing how important is to pay attention to things online instead of just hitting “Accept” to every privacy policy in between me and a new website. The internet should not be feared, but it should not be something you experience blissfully either.

Despite data privacy becoming a more important issue in 2019, it feels like no one is doing much to protect themselves from data breaching. So what do you do to prevent valuable information from leaking onto the web? It’s easier than it sounds. One of the biggest ways to secure your online presence is a virtual private network, or VPN. ZDNet describes VPNs as, “A tool that you use to obfuscate your connection from your PC, tablet, or smartphone to the internet.” A VPN can protect your location to prevent location-based ads and websites from tracking your real IP address.

Changing your password doesn’t actually help protect your online identity from much. Obviously, if you believe your account is being compromised, change your password. The National Institute of Standards and Technology explains, “Users are seriously burdened with trying to remember multiple passwords and complex rules for password creation…Even with all of these ‘safeguards’ in place, it hasn’t stopped security breaches.” Using two-step authentication is extremely helpful, but you shouldn’t just ignore basic password safety. Avoid using similar passwords, and use a trustworthy password manager for more protection. A good site to see if your email has been compromised is HaveIBeenPwned.com. The site scans data breaches and tells you if your password may be floating around the internet.

I’m not asking you to read every privacy policy for each site you visit, but be wary before hitting that “Accept” button. Many sites are vague on what information they track and how they get it, like the website listing my parents’ information. It simply explained that they get information from third-party sources automatically. Facebook is very vague on how they get your information as well, sparking conspiracy theories that the social media brand uses your mic to listen to your wants, then advertise them on their app. Be careful before giving unfamiliar websites a free pass to track you, you never know if that will lead to your personal information being plastered all over the internet.

About the Writer
Genesis Sandoval, Editor

Hi, my name is Genesis. This is my third year writing for The Pegasus. I’m a senior, and can’t wait to graduate. I listen to music often, and sleep...

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