More than ever, your location data is collected from various sites and applications. Learn how to keep your location on your phone or computer safe.
How to block geolocation on phones, tablets and PC
If you haven’t already, I’m sure you’ll soon be asking yourself this important question. This question is related to an aspect that haunts the Internet and puts you in danger. I am talking about the topics of geolocation and your privacy. How do I get all these websites to stop tracking my cell phone location? It’s normal. We have discuss earlier in this post. Will you tell me that a map app needs to know where you are? Otherwise, how can it determine the right direction for you? Many Internet users like me ask this question: why do so many applications and websites, which do not need our location, need to know where we are? And what is even more important, what is done with this information? In many cases, data collection is innocent, but the fact remains when your location is known on the Internet, it may as well be known everywhere because we all know how safe and secure the Internet is. In the worst case, blocking geolocation could mean the difference between life and death in heavily censored countries.
The very first reason to avoid geolocation on the Internet
The #1 reason to avoid geotagging on the Internet, whether on a tablet, phone, or computer, is to unblock geo-restricted TV channels! Yes, it’s true; there is a world of content available on the Internet that is largely accessible only to residents of the countries from which that media originates (such as the Netflix USA library or YouTube without restriction, the BBC etc.). You can unlock this content with VPN technology that hides the IP address or Smart DNS.
Tips and Tricks for Protecting Your Location Data Using the Internet
Here are our ideas for actions to ensure that your location is not tracked. The list is certainly not exhaustive, some methods are more complex than others, and there are always weaknesses in digital security.
1. Block your location data
The easiest method to help protect your location data from being broadcast across the Internet is to block it. It’s easy to do; most browsers, operating systems and phone apps will allow you to “allow location services” or not to be tracked; all you have to do is turn it off. Of course, this will only stop the spurious broadcast of your location because if
you are no longer using an active method of security, your IP address remains visible to every server on the Internet. Regardless, it’s still an important brick in your security wall and is recommended to be left for the best effect. The next step is to go to your browser settings and choose “do not track” for the HTTP added to your outgoing connection. This will mean that other servers will not track your movements. Still, it has two major drawbacks: the servers you connect to must already be configured for this access, and its use is a point that can be used to identify you through your digital fingerprints.
2. TOR / The Onion Network
The Onion Network, known as TOR, is a free data transfer network that uses encryption and a multi-layered system of servers and routers to anonymize data transfers. This system is a great way to keep data safe and anonymous when transferred, but it doesn’t protect the sender or recipient from data breaches or attacks. TOR does not encrypt, encapsulate data or in any way protect you and your location at your point of origin, i.e. from your phone, tablet or laptop. Your connection to the TOR network is easily tracked and is susceptible to several attacks that can block the data stream and trace the stream back to the source and find you. What’s even worse is that many, if not all, TOR nodes are operated by third parties whose security location may or may not be insecure by current practices.
3. DNS Leak Test
The 3rd weakness in terms of security concerns DNS leaks, which should be checked regularly. The DNS or Domain Name Server is a server whose purpose is to direct Internet traffic. It transforms local addresses into IP addresses that other servers and routers can use to send and receive information. A leak occurs when your security measures allow other Internet users to see your ISP and IP address information, providing them with a way to track your location and Internet habits. A simple method to prevent leaks is to clear your cookies. Cookies can sometimes store information and reveal your location even if you have managed your DNS leaks. This leak test is easy to do; many sites on the Internet can do this for you for free. Just search for DNS leak tests. Some security protocols, like a secure VPN, include DNS leak protection in your subscription, but more on that later. To go further, you can test to see what kind of leaks your browser allows using Browserleaks.com. It can help determine what changes to your security system are needed.
4. Avoid cookies
Admittedly, this is far from a one-size-fits-all solution for DNS issues and other tracking methods, but it can be a big help when using security measures alongside more active ones. Of course, this can also harm your web experience, depending on the type of cookie. Most websites all set a cookie on your device. They track your habits on the web, and their use is not limited to online shopping sites. So a cookie placed on your device by Wal-Mart may be providing you with the best selections – but when it’s a cookie placed by a surveillance agency, government or not, used to track you, your geolocation and your habits are a whole different story. You must go to your web browser settings and choose “Do not allow Cookies”.
5. Virtual machines
Your connections to the Internet are not the only entry point into your systems. Files of all kinds ranging from PDF to JPEG, DOC, JS, JAR and many more, can carry executable codes that can corrupt your network, wreak havoc on your system, and put your identity and your location at risk. A virtual machine looks like this; it a virtual computer. It is an operating system running on a remote server that can support applications and other functions that commonly run on a physical computer’s operating system. Users can log in from their device, switch to the virtual machine, and then use it to open suspicious files. This can be especially useful for people who fear geolocation by censors or hostile governments who might use corrupted files. The downside is that there are still risks of your connections being discovered because the virtual machine does not offer much security.
6. Virtual Machines, the next level
For those who want to use the idea of virtual machines to their fullest potential, it is possible to boot a real-time operating system from a USB flash drive or another device with the ability to memorize and run it locally. The advantages are clear, instead of a remote connection to a virtual machine where the connection itself is at risk, this launches the virtual machine without needing an internet connection. Of course, using it to connect to the Internet means opening the door to Internet risks. The virtual machine helps ensure anonymity and may include data encryption, but connections will nonetheless be traceable by those with bad intentions. If the connection is intercepted, the hacker can return to the source, even without knowing your identity.
7. Manage your Plugin
Browser management is important in maintaining Internet security and protecting your location information. This includes managing your plugins, as these are weak points in many security systems that can leak data even though other security measures have been followed. To be clear, a plugin is a piece of software that can be installed and run in another operating environment, whether or not proprietary to a third party. Here are some simple plugins: third-party functionality added to an e-commerce site, as a payment solution or social media icons. Malicious plugins are software that aims to eradicate your information and track your browsing habits. To maintain the highest level of anonymity, we recommend avoiding plugins as much as possible; the downside is that many websites cannot currently function without them. The best approach is to configure your system to require permission to run a plugin, so be sure to isolate them to run in sandbox mode for added security.
9. Anti-Tracking Software
There are anti-tracking software services like Ghostery. This little gem lets you block all types of tracking software from an easy-to-use dashboard: you can tell, with this tool, which tracking services are used by the websites you visit. It’s a great tool for blocking websites that actively track you, but it does nothing in terms of security or protecting your location to keep them safe from prying eyes, so be aware of that when you use it. Privacy Badger is another software that helps prevent online spying. It detects websites trying to track you and remembers them so that it can block future attempts. Again, it’s a great tool for defending internet privacy, but it doesn’t provide a high level of security.
10. HTTPS Everywhere Extension
HTTPS Everywhere is an extension for your outgoing connections that forces other websites to use SSL encryption when you visit them. SSL, Secure Socket Layer, is a simple form of VPN that uses encryption to maximize the anonymity and security of internet users when connecting to websites. You often see it when ordering from an e-commerce site, but you can also find it in many other places on the web. Most websites support some level of SSL encryption, but this falls short for less secure connections for different reasons, including loading speed. The extension prevents websites from failing over this less secure connection if the site supports SSL. Again, it’s a brick in the security wall, but it’s not an all-in-one solution.
11. Avoid Google Tracking
In many ways, Google is the Internet. Everyone who uses the Internet interacts with Google in some way. Those who use it for research, knowingly or unknowingly (for your information, most of the search bars on your favourite websites are powered by Google) are subject to the many methods of search engine tracking. Have you ever noticed how when clicking on a Google link, or trying to copy and paste a link provided by Google, the results link is very long and complex instead of the very simple link you were trying to find? Well, this is how Google tracks your use of this data and many more it can glean from you and your connection. To avoid this, use simple add-ons like SearchLinkFix to eliminate Google tracking.
12. Stop Web RTC
Web RTC (Web Real-Time Configuration) allows web browsers to obtain real-time information from other browsers and servers. This means that another computer or server may request information about your device, which may be provided, including the actual IP address and other identifying details, even if you use IP masking software. Firefox users can manage this setting directly in the browser by going to about: config and setting media.peer.connection to False. Others will need to install software such as Ublock Origin to prevent this data leak.
13. Digital fingerprint
I have mentioned several times how certain aspects of Internet security are not perfect because they can be used to generate a profile or a fingerprint that relates to you or your devices. Several sites on the net will check your settings for these spying eyes and generate a report for them that helps you avoid this pitfall.
14. Social networks
To stay truly anonymous on the web, you should avoid social media. But there’s a rule for those who want to access them over a secure connection and use them safely. Give as little information as possible about yourself and your location to avoid geolocation tracking. Location tracking features are usually put into dormant mode unless you want to enable it, but it’s always a good idea to check to be sure. Avoid using this feature and only quote where you are in messages.
15. Use a signal jammer
When you have done everything I mentioned above but still feel you are not safe, there is still a final weapon here you can use to protect yourself: the signal jammer. The signal jammer can block the signal between the sender and the recipient. How does this help? Imagine that someone is tracking your location by GPS; you can use a GPS jammer to block the GPS signal around you so the data transmission between the tracker and the system will be disabled. In that way, no one can track you down anymore.
Several types of signal jammers are designed for different purposes you can find online. For example, a cell phone jammer is a jammer that can block mobile phone signals. It’s best for anti-tapping, so more and more office installs one to prevent their conversation during the meeting from getting tapped. Wifi jammer is designed to block wifi signals to ensure no internet access within the range.