Q:

Can strangers find out where someone lives through the Internet?

A:

Quick Answer

Usually, it is not possible for strangers to find out where someone lives through the Internet unless that person has made his or her address public. However, hackers and identity thieves can use illegal methods to extract personal information through the Internet. Therefore, Internet users should take precautions to protect their personal data.

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Full Answer

Internet users should be very careful about the personal information that they share online. The Internet has a very broad reach, and although they may be able to control how information such as home addresses and credit card details are used, other Internet users may not show the same discretion. Users should avoid sharing any information that they do not want to make public.

Hackers can sometimes gain access to personal data on personal computers. Therefore, computer users should take measure to protect their computers from hackers. They should make sure their computer security software is installed and up to date, update all browsers and other Internet related programs and use strong, secure passwords. They should also take the same security measures for other devices that connect to the Internet, such as tablets and smartphones.

Occasionally, companies experience data breaches that expose their customers' home addresses, Social Security numbers and other personal data to cyber criminals. Although companies that experience breaches are required to inform customers about the breach, customers can protect themselves in case these attacks occur. They can refrain from storing their personal information on commercial websites when making purchases online and avoid sharing personal information when stores collect it for marketing purposes.

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