Can Someone See My Internet History If I Use Their WiFi?

Last updated on September 23rd, 2021 in Censorship, VPN

can someone see my internet history if i use their wifiIn today’s world, you can’t really function if you’re not online in one way or another. The internet has become an integral part of our lives, whether for entertainment purposes, work, or even socializing. This is why more and more people are becoming concerned about how secure their connections are and who exactly can spy on them while browsing. More and more people are wondering “can someone see my internet history if I use their WiFi?”.

And with the introduction of GDPR laws all across the globe, a lot of internet users feel like they now have a legal basis to question exactly how secure their connections to the internet are. 

While there are many aspects to internet security that can be discussed, my main focus today will be how secure is your browser history when using someone else’s WiFi. 

How secure is a WiFi connection I don’t own?

First and foremost we have to discuss the differences between HTTP and HTTPS. Whenever you enter a website into your address bar, you will notice that every single domain either starts with http:// or https://. The main difference between the two is that HTTPS uses a TLS/SSL certificate in order to secure your HTTP connection. 

To put it simply you will generally want to visit HTTPS sites when using a WiFi connection that you don’t own. Due to the lack of any security protocols, this means that your WiFi owner will be able to see exactly what you browsed on that particular website. He will still be able to see what HTTPS websites you visited, but he will not be able to find out more since the security protocols won’t allow it.

Be mindful of the fact that all of this is also dependent on how tech-savvy your WiFi owner is. If he knows what he is doing he could potentially get even more information out of your browsing history, even on HTTPS websites.

For example, if he were to use packet tracing software he could probably gather a lot more private information about you. Packets are the basic transit units that we use over the internet. Within them, they contain the actual data that needs to be sent and received, as well as information about the computers and networks involved. 

So in case you are wondering “can the WiFi owner see what I search?” the answer would be a resounding yes. If they have any experience with internet connections this will be done easily with packet tracing software. 

How much information can my WiFi owner get about my browsing history?

can wifi owner see what sites i visited incognito

The answer to this question will be influenced by what type of router is being used. Older WiFi routers do not have the capabilities to track Internet traffic on their own. With the necessary technical knowledge and software that issue can be overcome though, so don’t feel entirely safe if you see an old router in the corner gathering dust.

Newer routers on the other hand will have some form of built-in tracking feature and pre-configured software. This could allow someone with very little experience to gain access to confidential information with just a few simple clicks.

And if you think that you have nothing to hide when it comes to your browsing history, there is a lot more information that can be gathered, such as:

  • Exact times of when you connected or disconnected from the internet
  • Your total time online
  • Your total time spent on a particular website
  • Specific links that you visited on a website
  • Data from unencrypted HTTP sites
  • Source and destination IP addresses (this can be especially harmful if the person doing this has actual foul intent)

On top of those above, you should also take into account that with the right tools and a good skill set, a Wi-FI network owner can also gather information about your online searches. This opens a completely different can of worms since many of our online searches can reveal some pretty sensitive information about ourselves.

You should also be considering what WiFi you have been using from your mobile phone as well. With enough know-how and the right software, someone could track other things other than your browsing history such as:

  • Call and text logs
  • Voice messages
  • Text messages
  • Images or photos that you’ve sent or received

All of that personal information could be very damaging if it were to fall into the wrong hands. There are plenty of hackers out there who will sell any and all information they can extract from your phone to the highest bidder. Of course, the highest bidder will probably just be some company that will then pester you with ads by text message, but you never know. 

Can the wifi owner see what sites I visited incognito?

Incognito Mode is a feature that all internet browsers offer nowadays. While it is enabled no cookies will be stored relating to your browsing history. The downside is that you won’t be able to automatically log in to any websites and any places you do log in to won’t remember your credentials for future usage. 

The main advantage is the fact that whatever you browse won’t be tied to any of your accounts and your search history will be clean. This is obviously very useful when looking up delicate information that you wouldn’t want to be seen by other people who are using your PC. 

However, you can’t fully rely on incognito mode as a way of keeping your browsing data safe. While regular users who are operating on the same computer won’t be able to see anything related to your incognito browsing history, someone who is keeping an eye on your actual internet traffic can. 

Incognito mode will not shield you from someone who knows what they are doing. With the right software, they will still be able to see any incoming or outgoing packets and trace IP addresses and other things. So if you’re curious whether your WiFi owner can see what sites you visited while incognito, the simple answer is yes, with the right tools at his disposal.

Can your parents see your search history on WiFi?

If your parents are the owners of the WiFI network you use the most, it’s only natural to ask yourself if your online searches and other activities are private. Since pretty much the same rules apply to this situation as the ones described above, the answer is obviously that your parents could see your search history on WiFi.

Whether they actually can has more to do with how knowledgeable they are when it comes to using the Internet and accessing the data from your home router. Luckily though, there are ways to keep that from happening. Keep reading to find out how to better hide your online activities.

How can I defend myself?

In order to feel safe while browsing the internet, the easiest method is to simply pay careful attention to the networks that you use. Never log in to sites or browse confidential information if you can’t fully trust the connection that you are using. 

While public WiFi can seem trustworthy, in certain cases hackers have been known to operate within public WiFi networks. Their main reason for doing this is that many people have no concept of internet security and will be easy prey. 

Here are the best ways of staying protected and keeping your browsing private, even on public WiFi networks.

      1. Use a VPN

By far the most efficient way of making sure that your data and online activities are private even while browsing the internet on public WiFi is to simply install a VPN. By allowing you to connect to a remote server and by encrypting all your traffic, a VPN will allow you to easily browse anonymously even when connected to a WiFi that you don’t own. 

Nowadays, VPNs are a must-have especially for those who use public WiFi networks on a regular basis. Luckily, as the demand increased, VPNs have also become a lot more user-friendly and easy to set up and use. By simply subscribing to a VPN service, installing the VPN client and connecting to it through a couple of clicks each time you go online, you ensure safe browsing sessions all the time.

If that’s what you’re looking for, the great news is that HideIPVPN is an amazing choice.First off, the VPN is fast and reliable, with servers located strategically all around the world for maximum performance and coverage. The VPN client is easy to use and boasts features that will make your browsing sessions safe and anonymous.Secondly, by using AES-256 encryption, HideIPVPN offers a great level of security against any prying eyes. Your data will always be safe while connected to our servers and thanks to our strict no-logs policy, there’s nothing to worry about when it comes to your anonymity online.

Last but not least, our prices and pricing structure are very convenient and we are proud to offer great levels of service at some of the lowest costs. Our Support team is always available and willing to help should you encounter any issues.
Give HideIPVPN a shot and see for yourself if it’s the right choice for your needs.

      2. Use the Tor browser

If you think using a VPN is too much of a hassle for you, you could try out the Tor browser first. Any and all information that passes through this browser is encrypted so no one will be able to see your browser history. 

They will however be able to see that you have established a connection to the Tor network and that can be seen as somewhat suspicious. There is also the fact that Tor is very slow so you might be limited to activities that don’t require high-speed connectivity.

On top of this, while you won’t need to worry about the privacy of your actions, you may find yourself in a completely different worrying situation. Tor has been known as a place where many hackers are lurking around hidden behind this browser’s “anonymity spell”. Moreover, since Tor has been in the middle of several hacking scandals in the past, it has also been targeted several times by government agencies and even FBI hacking attacks.

      3. Other ways of keeping your browsing history private and staying safe online

There are some other things you can do if you’re worried about your online security and privacy. Here’s a couple of the most important ones:

Be very mindful of the software that you install. 

Always check the sources from which you download software. Software from shady websites can sometimes have malware attached to it. What you thought was a WinRAR installer might also have some malicious software attached to it. The damage that these can do is varied:

  • Some will simply send confidential data to another person
  • If valuable information is found it could be encrypted and used as ransomware against you
  • Certain software will be installed that will run in the background and mine cryptocurrency for someone else, putting a huge strain on your computer
  • While not as popular anymore, sometimes you’ll just end up with a malicious virus that in the worst of cases might force you to format your PC

      4. Avoid using Flash or Java. 

While these two web plugins were once a staple of the internet, they have fallen out of grace in recent years due to how many security flaws have been uncovered in both of them. Nowadays they’ve mostly been replaced by HTML5 but some websites might still require you to use them. Be extra careful when doing so and clearly stay away from any websites that you can’t trust.

      5. Keep add-ons and browser extensions to a minimum

Browsers like Firefox and Chrome also offer a huge variety of add-ons or extensions that can improve your web experience. Even though they are vetted and checked before being approved, malicious extensions have been discovered in the past. In order to avoid any troubles, use your best judgment when choosing extensions. Go for the really popular ones, stray clear from extensions that have very few downloads and bad ratings.

Can the WiFi owner see what I am browsing and downloading even when I have a VPN on?

When it comes to using a VPN, one of its main advantages is that it makes your online activities almost completely anonymous. By connecting to a VPN, you actually securely connect to a remote server from which your internet traffic travels further through a tunnel of encryption to the websites you visit.

That means that the only information about your browsing that will be visible to a WiFi network owner is a log showing you connected from that network to the VPN server’s IP. Everything you do online after the connection to the VPN has been established will not be visible in the WiFi router’s logs. 

The same thing applies to the downloads you make while connected to someone else’s WiFi. Keep in mind though that while the owner may not have access to see what you download, he might still be able to see how much you download. 

Conclusion

So, to provide a short answer to the question “can someone see my internet history if i use their WiFi?”, yes. They can, unless you find a way to protect your privacy. Use a VPN or any other software that can ensure the security of your information.

If your main concern is “can your parents see your search history on wifi” you should rest assured that with just very little effort you can easily bypass their attempts.

In the end, while no one wants people to infringe on their privacy, there are other forms of data that can be valuable to a potential hacker besides your browsing history. Ensuring that your connection is secure should be a top priority no matter whose WiFi you are using.

And as mentioned above, a great way of protecting yourself and your privacy, especially when browsing the web through a Wi-Fi network that you don’t own, is using a VPN.

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