ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

4 Ways You Don't Realize Your Online Data is Being Misused

Updated on December 31, 2019
michaelvpn profile image

CEO at VPN. We help millions of consumers and businesses filter hundreds of VPN providers to find the best VPN for their needs.

Concept of hacker Internet activity or security hacking. Cartoon vector illustration.
Concept of hacker Internet activity or security hacking. Cartoon vector illustration. | Source

Many of us have fears about cybersecurity and the consequences of so-called "cybercriminals" getting their hands on sensitive information like bank passwords and credit card information, but there are much more common ways your data can be misused online that you may have never considered.

In this piece, we'll discuss some of the issues with unsecured internet data, and why a personal VPN may be what you need to fortify your digital presence.

Cybersecurity and VPNs

Cybersecurity was an issue before the last few years' high-profile string of data breaches, but with the understanding that online information is less secure than ever before, private citizens are in need of affordable options to protect themselves.

One of these options is connecting to a personal VPN, or Virtual Private Network. A VPN allows you to connect to a secure, remote server that hides your IP address and location while also encrypting any data you send and receive.

Without the use of a VPN, there are risks. Here are four very common ways that your online data could be misused, whether you realize it or not.

1 - Financial Data

"Packet sniffing" is a data capture technique that involves decoding data as it passes through routers and switches, and it's used by Internet Service Providers (ISPs), governments, federal agencies and hackers. It's a common practice, which is all the more reason it should make you worried.

Packet sniffing and other forms of digital intrusion means that if your data isn't encrypted as it passes through cyberspace, anyone with access to the right technology can get their hands on your sensitive information.

Let's say you're at the airport waiting to catch a flight, and you decide to pull out your phone and pay your credit card bill via the airport’s public WiFi network. Without a secure connection, anyone snooping in the right place could have access to your credit card and banking account information.

This doesn't just happen on public WiFi, although they are breeding grounds for hackers. Any unsecured network is susceptible to this type of data interception.

2 - Private Identification

All types of online data misuse are dangerous, others are just plain creepy. Imagine you're browsing Google, Facebook, or another site on which you keep a profile with a host of private identifying information, including your likes, dislikes, habits, health information, etc. Even with a private profile, service providers and hackers can access this information and learn a LOT more information than you would ever want a stranger to know.

It's really not as difficult as you might think to intercept personal information. With a limited amount of technical know-how, a complete stranger can gain access to your health records, vacation plans, phone call history, location, and more. It doesn’t help that many sites, including Google, store this information without user consent.

3 - Home Security Data

It seems like everything these days is connected to a network. Undeniably, it makes life much more convenient for most people. You can pull up your phone to check a baby monitor, see who just rang the doorbell, or even change the temperature settings in your home.

But all these actions represent data being sent from one place to another, and while you may not think about it, it's likely that bad actors will.

But wait, you might be thinking. These "smart" devices are made by some of the biggest companies in the world. Surely, they're secure, right?

Not always, as was the case with Amazon's Ring smart doorbell/camera systems. In November 2019, it was made public that these "secure" devices actually had a significant security flaw that may have allowed hackers to access home security codes and Wi-Fi passwords.

This is just one example in a long list of stories that should make you question putting your family's safety at risk by connecting to an unsecured network.

4 - Browsing and Consumer Data

Thanks to current FCC regulations (or lack thereof), ISPs have nearly free reign to record and sell your data, including your browsing history, which sites you visit for what, and where you purchase things online.

They are able to sell that data to the highest bidder, usually to advertisers. Wondering why you keep seeing ads for products right after you Google information about them? Your ISP is likely logging your activity and sharing it with advertisers.

Protect Against Data Misuse

Whether you're looking to protect your financial data or simply keep your browsing information from prying eyes, setting up a personal VPN can be the solution you're looking for. A VPN encrypts data sent from your device to a remote server, hiding your activity and location from snoops, hackers, and even your ISP.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)