Your Internet Service Provider or ISP for short, is the company that you pay every month for gaining access to the internet.
Every bid of what you do online in your Computer, Smartphone or Table gets passed by their data centers.
Have you ever wondered, what can they see or what are they doing with that information?. Well even if you haven't, what someone else is doing with your information is kinda of a concern that you should at least be informed about.
When you are visiting a website, you are creating a connection and every bid of information gets transferred with packets. When you type a URL on the browser, you are sending a packet and when you see the website you want to visit, you are receiving a packet. Every packet gets passed through a tunnel of some shorts and that is you ISP.
Since DNS records are not encrypted and your ISP is responsible to connect you to the website you want to visit, they at least know the IP address of every website you are connecting to, but they don’t know in a sense what specific page you visited in that website.
For instance, they might know you visited a website but they don’t have access to your encrypted information, like you account information or if you chatted with someone let’s say on Facebook.
Although this might be true, since they can see the time you visited a website and they do have access to every packet you transferred or received they can make an educated guess of what you where doing in that website.
On the other hand, we have unencrypted websites. While inside those websites your ISP can see everything that you are doing. From who you are speaking with, down to what you are saying and that is kind of scary.
I am not saying that there is someone on top of a computer screen waiting to see your packet information, but most probably your data is stored in a database ready to be accessed by someone and that is the concerning part.
Most companies store your information for a specific period of time, most commonly for 2 years.
The most common way an ISP company uses client information is to sell it, and advertising agencies are starving for information on what you do online.
The downside to this other that the fact that now someone else has your information is that you have no idea what they will do with it and keep in mind not only advertising agencies are buying information but a lot of other type of companies.
The only way to protect your self is to use a VPN service.
A lot of you might have heard about the use of a VPN, especially if you tried to download something latetly. Through the VPN your information is encrypted so nobody can see what you are actually doing.
Some services even provide DNS encryption, so even your ISP will have no idea what it is that you are doing online.
Take a note here, if you think of buying a VPN service try to find a good one since they are still some companies out there that might be worse than your ISP when it comes to how they treat your data.
The good thing is that most websites are using encrypted connections as a standard this days.
Taking a look at the URL of the website, you can indetify what type of connection they are using. You will encounter 2 kinds of urls, one starting with http:// and one with https://
As long as the website you are visiting is under https, you are under an encrypted connection.
A good advice i have, since a lot of people are buying online at the moment. If you are using a credit card, or filling in sensitive information about yourself, make sure the URL of the website that you are typing your information is under https and if it's not, don't trust any kind of transaction from that website.