Tips & Advice

Who can see your internet history?

Emma McGowan 1 Jul 2021

Your browsing is not as private as you think

Is someone watching you right now? You bet. While it’s improbable that someone is staring at you through your computer’s camera this very second, it’s entirely a fact that every move you make online is being tracked by multiple parties. People often joke about creating a secret pact to have their internet history deleted by a friend in the case of an untimely death. But truth be told, your surfing is already being monitored by lots of watchers.

Who can see your web activity?

Wi-Fi network administrators

If you’re using a public or private Wi-Fi network – this includes your workplace – its administrator can see which sites you visit, your social media activity, and which videos you watch. If it’s a secure site, (HTTPS) they won’t be able to see what information you fill in on secured forms.

Internet service providers (ISPs)

Even in incognito mode, your ISP can see the sites you visit, who you are emailing and your social media activity. They may even be able to see details about your health and finances. Depending on your local laws, ISPs can save your data for up to a year.

Operating systems

Your desktop and phone OS can see the sites you visit, who you are emailing and your social media activity. If your geolocation features are on, they can see where you are.

Search engines

Sites like Google, Yahoo!, etc. can see your search history, search results, and every time you use your Google account to log into a site, data about you is being collected. Your interests and behaviors are valuable to companies that want to show you ads.

Websites

Some websites can see what you’re doing on them. They use cookies to track your activity and traffic. Cookies are mostly used to speed up your navigation and personalize advertising for the sake of making it more relevant to you.

Apps

Phone and some desktop apps can see your location, account information and email address. Pay close attention to the privacy statement and privacy settings in each app.

Governments

Law enforcement and investigators can ask your Internet Service Provider to give them your browsing data. They track all types of online behavior to prevent or stop cyber crimes.

Hackers

A hacker can use attacks to see your browser history, login information, financial data, and more.

How can you protect your privacy?

The best way to browse without being seen is to hide your IP address with a Virtual Private Network, known as a VPN connection. A VPN encrypts your data and gives you a proxy IP address that can’t be traced back to you.  

Avast Secure Browser is made by security experts and is easy to set up and simple to customize. In addition to built-in VPN integration, it can block tracking, (block ads for faster browsing) keep you safe from online threats like phishing sites, web tracking, and malware.

Your browsing behaviors and interests are valuable data that can be used to improve services and personalize ads, but it can also be used against you. It’s up to you to guard your privacy with the right knowledge and tools. While nothing is perfectly secure, you can make it difficult for people who are trying to get your private information.