Losing internet access seems like a horrifying scenario that most of us can no longer imagine. The global internet usage and users increase every second, with new users starting their digital journeys.
Additionally, internet technologies are also changing rapidly and making things possible which no one could have imagined. Now, the internet speed across the globe has undergone so much advancement that a person can download a 4.7GB movie within 4 seconds using 5G (and under ideal conditions). Also, this is not the end of it, and technology is a fluid phenomenon that will change every year.
But with these changes and advancements, the threats online also continue to thrive. Hackers get more advanced with time, and in some cases, the ISPs can become the enemies, potentially ruining your experience. So, just how much can your ISP do when it comes to your online journey?
What is an Internet Service Provider (ISP)?
An internet service provider (ISP) is a company that provides services for accessing, utilizing, or connecting to the internet. For the traditional user, your ISP might be the cable company, which also supplies a TV subscription. Thus, your ISP is your gateway to the internet.
How do ISPs get your data?
The most common way that an ISP can track your data is by using deep packet inspection (DPI). DPI is a technique in which companies examine what’s inside the packages sent over the internet before forwarding them on their way. When you use the internet connection provided by your ISP, it can track everything you do, from the websites you visit or search to how long you stay on a given web page.
What can ISPs do with your data?
Internet service providers (ISPs) are the gatekeepers between you and the internet. Therefore, they can see all data traffic coming to your computer. Moreover, almost every ISP can track users’ data without hesitation, and most people are unaware that their personal data is sold. However, some ISPs have limited power over this due to laws limiting their actions.
Sell data to third parties
It is one of the most common methods for ISPs gathering their clients’ data. Since ISPs track every little thing that their users do online, they have vast information about you. Now, to make things worse, internet service providers sell this data to third parties for advertising purposes and earn money. It is likely anonymized, but enough data could be enough to trace certain activities back to you.
Perform internet throttling
The process of restricting the speed of data transfer from a given source is called internet throttling. The most common example of throttling is slowing down YouTube, Netflix, and Twitch streaming speeds to make their services borderline unusable. It usually happens while playing online gaming, video chats, or other activities that consume more data speed.
What information can ISPs obtain?
Every time you visit a website, the ISPs can easily track you because they assign your computer an IP address.
● IP Address. An Internet Protocol address (IP Address) is a unique label given to each device that participates in a network using the Internet Protocol for communication. The ISP can track that very easily.
● Your Browsing History. They also see what kind of data or content you download from the internet and what applications you use.
● Your Data. In addition to all these, your internet service provider can also gather data such as usernames, passwords, demographics, locations, etc.
● Data from every device – In the case of mobile devices or smartphones, ISPs have a slightly different approach. Since each device has its own IP address and acts as a mobile hotspot, ISPs can easily track each device’s data connected to its network.
What can you do?
Although internet service providers are dangerous for your data security, you can still do some things to prevent them from exploiting your data.
● Using HTTPS. Using HTTPS protocol for all your online activities can be a great way to prevent ISPs from keeping track of what you’re doing online.
● Changing Your Default DNS Server. You can change your default DNS server because it allows every website you visit to record data about you. For example, if you’re using Google’s DNS server, Google can easily track your data, and so does your ISP.
● Virtual Private Networks (VPNs). A VPN for security is a technology that adds an extra layer of protection to your data. In simple words, it allows you to browse the internet without being tracked by your ISP or any third party for that matter. After all, it encrypts your internet traffic and masks your IP address. For instance, your ISP will no longer know when to throttle your connection because it won’t be able to see what you do online.
Now you know how your Internet Service Provider can exploit your data and use it for different purposes. Privacy has become a major concern of almost every person, and we must protect our privacy and data at all costs. Therefore, you must consider changing how you use the internet and how you protect your data.