Some people try to hide parts of their email address from online scrapers by spelling out “at” and “dot,” notes a Washington Post technology newsletter. But unfortunately, “This spam-fighting trick doesn’t work. At all.” They warn that it’s not just a “piece of anti-spam fiction,” but “an example of the digital self-protection myths that drain your time and energy and make you less safe.
“Today, let’s kill off four privacy and security bogus beliefs, including that you need a VPN to stay safe online. (No, you probably don’t.)
Myth No. 3: You need a VPN to stay safe online.
…for most people in the United States and other democracies, “There is no real reason why you should use a VPN,” said Frédéric Rivain, chief technology officer of Dashlane, a password management service that also offers a VPN…. If you’re researching sensitive subjects like depression and don’t want family members to know or corporations to keep records of your activities, Rivain said you might be better off using a privacy-focused web browser such as Brave or the search engine DuckDuckGo. If you use a VPN, that company has records of what you’re doing. And advertisers will still figure out how to pitch ads based on your online activities.
P.S. If you’re concerned about crooks stealing your info when you use WiFi networks in coffee shops or airports and want to use a VPN to disguise what you’re doing, you probably don’t need to. Using public WiFi is safe now in most circumstances, my colleague Tatum Hunter has reported.
“Many VPNs are also dodgy and may do far more harm than good,” their myth-busting continues, referring readers to an earlier analysis by the Washington Post (with some safe recommendations).
On a more sympathetic note, they acknowledge that “It’s exhausting to be a human on the internet. Companies and public officials could be doing far more to protect you.”
But as it is, “the internet is a nonstop scam machine and a little paranoia is healthy.”
Read more of this story at Slashdot.