The internet is the information highway. It is so easy to turn on the computer, bring up a search engine such as Google or Yahoo, and start exploring. We want to think we use search engines for educational purposes such as school reports, business projects, or even learning how to make a craft or woodworking project, but the truth is, we regularly look up information just for fun.
It doesn’t matter if your use of search engines is purposeful for education or employment, or personal for entertainment. Either way, you can’t be too careful when using search engines online. So many of us internet surfers have a search engine site as our home page. Every single time I open Internet Explorer, the Google site greets me on the screen.
It is so easy for search engines to track you. Places online such as Google and Yahoo, for example, can discover your likes and dislikes simply by watching what types of searches you perform. This can sound pretty scary, but this is not where it ends.
When you use Yahoo, Google, or another search engine site, that site is capable of collecting so much data. You may not even realize the amount of private information that is available. The site collects your search history regarding what you search for and the websites you visit. This information even lets them know what time you were online. Your IP address is possibly attainable during the search. With this information, it Is a concern that the search engine site will be able to learn who you are.
Computer users visit a search engine to gather information, not have information gathered about who they are and what they do while online. What steps can be taken to prevent search engines from finding out all about you? Several ways exist to help eliminate the chances of gathering significant data from you.
To keep your information private, do not login to the search engine. Even logging in on related features of the search engine, such as a related group for example, will allow the search engine to know who you are. All information will be susceptible to tracking after you have logged in.
It is possible to login without even being aware of it. If you are signed into Google Groups when you do a search on Google, Google will be able to track you at that time. Be certain to log out of any programs such as this before beginning your search.
You may find that you have forgotten to log out of other programs from time to time, but do your best to be consistent. This is crucial when protecting your private information from search engines.
Here is the instructions to block cookies from the Google search engine for Internet Explorer users.
When you are in Internet Explorer, select Tools and then Internet Options from the drop down box. The Privacy Tab is what you will want to click on for this task. When you get to Sites, click to continue. A box will appear where you will need to enter Google’s address. After you have entered the Google address, click the Block button to complete.
Firefox users will also want to open the program then click on Tools. Click on Options and select the Privacy Tab. You will then want to select Exceptions and enter in the Google website address. Click on the Block button to ensure Google will no longer be able to track all of your information during your search sessions.
Changing your IP address is a great idea. Periodically switching to a new IP address helps to avoid large amounts of information to be gathered. Changing your IP address may be easier than you think. If you have a DSL or Cable modem, you can be automatically assigned a new IP address simply and easily. All you need to do is turn off your modem for a few minutes. Restarting the modem changes the IP address for you. Other types of internet service, for example, dial up, will require you to contact your internet service provider, ISP, to get a new IP address. This is a small task for those who want to keep their private information away from search engines.
Searching for yourself online can be fun, but dangerous. Do not enter personal information online such as social security number, name, etc. This information can be stored permanently by the search engine. Entering the personal information is a great way to open yourself up to identity theft. Just don’t do it.
If a reason exists that you absolutely must peruse information online that requires you to enter personal data, do not use your personal computer. Work computers are also off limits. A public computer is a much safer idea. Consider using a computer at the local library. You will be less likely to be logged in to a program that will accidentally allow your personal information out.
Never use the search engine that your ISP provides. Since your ISP knows your IP address and will be aware of all new IP addresses, it is best to avoid using their search engine. This will curb the opportunity of your information getting into the wrong hands.
Although in most
Cases, your ISP is completely safe, you would not want to open yourself to such vulnerability. Prevention is the safest way to protect yourself and your personal information. Don’t allow yourself to be spied upon by search engines.