Online Privacy: Why you really should care about your internet privacy

The meaning of public, private and secret in the online world

Author: F-Secure Business Security Insider
Date: 27.08.2015
Read Time: 1 Minutes

Colombian novelist & Nobel laureate Gabriel García Márquez once said: “All human beings have three lives: public, private and secret.”

Public, private and secret. Each can mean different things to different people, especially in the digital universe. For one person, the idea of blogging about their cat may seem like too much exposure while for another, video blogging every aspect of their daily life is business as usual.

With regards to private life, some may think a traditional email sent from one person to another is private communication. More technically savvy folks, however, might want to encrypt all their communications end-to-end and want to keep their identity anonymous. This is possible with technologies like VPN, anonymity services & email encryption.

A secret online life can mean different things as well. The average Joe may simply use an extra John.Doe@dummy.tld email address for accessing sites where they don’t want to give their real information. For an on-demand one-time email inbox, https://mailinator.com/ is a useful service. For others, having a secret life on the web might mean something darker: Covering up illegal activities such as operating Silk Road types of marketplaces, creating & managing botnets, RAT administration, or writing malware for Bitcoin mining or key loggers.

Like I said, each can have different meanings to different people. For some, ignorance is bliss. These people don’t want to know what kind of things can happen (and, unfortunately, will eventually happen) to their online identity if they don’t take a few small steps to ensure they are safe and their online identity or property will not be hijacked and misused.

Public, private & secret. What do they mean to you?

Jani Kostiainen

Original image by Yuri Samoilov


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