With the announcement recently at WWDC by Apple’s Tim Cook that they would be blocking some of Facebook’s tracking tools, the question popped up about how safe we really can expect to be while online. While online security is both a big business and a big area of concern for a lot of people, many fall foul to online scams, data breaches and thoughtlessly post geotagged photos of kids etc. So how safe are we? Should we be worried?
It’s hard, in this day and age, to not feel like Big Brother is always watching. You look on a website for a pair of trainers and suddenly the trainers are advertised to you everywhere you go. You announce on social media that you got engaged and every website suddenly seems to show you wedding related advertisements. If you’re interested in how they do this, you can take a look at this article.
With the death of the high street, it’s no secret that online shopping is a big business. And these companies will do everything they can to get you to spend money with them instead of a rival. Abandoned basket emails are now commonplace, mailing lists with promises of discounts and many other tactics are employed to get us to part with our hard earned cash. The UK has the third biggest e-commerce market in the world in 2015 so we’re obviously good people to target!
So while we know that companies can track what we’re looking at and tailor our browsing experience with that knowledge, how exposed do we find ourselves in terms of our online security?
Apple is the market leader and where they go many others are likely to follow. Remember when they decided that Flash was outdated and wouldn’t be supported on any of their mobile devices? They recently announced that the once ubiquitous software will no longer be supported after 2020 and are encouraging everyone to start moving away from its use.
In case you didn’t read the outcome of the WWDC Keynote, Apple are giving their users much higher levels of control over who can track them online. There remains a question mark on how many pop ups this will add to our browsing experience but it will essentially make our data harder to exploit for advertising purposes. It should also, effectively, put a stop to fingerprinting, (where companies track you in other ways even after you have deleted their cookies).
Industry security experts are applauding the move saying that we all deserve a right to privacy. I wonder, in the increasingly digital age, whether full privacy is even possible but I applaud Apple’s efforts. The TV show Hunted proves just how hard it is to maintain any semblance of privacy with CCTV on every corner, traceable bankcards and transactions etc.
With the increasingly complex email scams hitting our inboxes (anyone else had the new, slightly more convincing one about the opportunity to buy WikiShares?!) security experts are always working hard to stay one step ahead. Rollout of https and secure card storage make us feel safe online but high profile data breeches of late by companies such as Yahoo! which had all 3 billion of its user accounts compromised makes us worry about how we’re storing our data online. With even big banks like TSB recently having a near total IT meltdown is it time to be a little more cautious about how our online security?
I am so pleased that Apple is taking steps to help us with our online security and protect us from endless data trawling. However, it remains to be seen how Facebook, and other companies that use our data to track our web usage, will try and outsmart and circumnavigate the new measures to be rolled out by Apple.
We’d love to hear how you manage your online security so leave us a comment. If you have any concerns about online safety or the safety of your machines, please do get in touch and we will happily help you make sure you’re secure!
Tori is the genius behind the scenes that keeps everyone in line…or so she likes to think. She loves all things photography and was an (unwilling) Mac convert over a decade ago but would now never go back!