(ModernSurvival.org) – Criminals will use any tool at their disposal to identify an unsuspecting target. This includes stalking the internet for their next victims. For a serial killer in New Jersey, his hunting grounds of choice — social media and dating apps — were turned against him by some clever friends of a victim.
A New Jersey man who used dating apps to lure and kill three women was sentenced to 160 years in prison after a trial in which it was revealed that friends of one victim did their own detective work on social media to ferret out the suspect. #Dateline https://t.co/b4LcITiqkU
— Dateline NBC (@DatelineNBC) October 6, 2021
Khalil Wheeler-Weaver, 25, faces 160 years in prison thanks to the sleuthing efforts of Sarah Butler’s friends. Butler, a 20-year-old college student, was the third and final victim to lose their life at the hands of the serial killer.
Butler’s friends gained access to her social media accounts, then created a fake profile to lure the murderer into a meeting. Instead of finding his next victim, Wheeler-Weaver was met by law enforcement.
Prosecutors presented evidence that Wheeler-Weaver used dating apps to find his victims, who he then strangled to death. Evidence from the murderer’s cell phone placed him at the locations where victims were found. Testimony from Tiffany Taylor, a fourth victim who survived her encounter with Wheeler-Weaver, sealed the killer’s fate.
The tragic deaths of Robin West, Joanne Brown, and Sarah Butler are a horrible reminder that one can never be sure who is on the other side of the internet. Sometimes, it may be best to remain anonymous online.
How to Hide On the Internet
Becoming truly anonymous online is a tricky endeavor. Big tech, businesses, government agencies and hackers are constantly collecting personal information. Whatever the reasons behind gathering this data, internet users have equally good reason to protect their privacy online.
The internet was designed to record everything users do online. Data from each user normally passes through a number of different touchpoints, allowing businesses to gather information. Digital marketers, for example, capture analytics data such as demographics, location, age, and interests in order to tailor online ads and other offerings to users.
Wondering how it’s possible to hide on the internet? Read on.
Personal Data is Valuable
User data travels all over the world and can get into many hands before it reaches its intended destination. The risk of having private information collected and taken by hackers or nefarious parties is high. It’s common for individuals’ information to be hacked, then sold on the dark web.
These days, information is a hot commodity. It’s used to profit, to censor and even surveil citizens. The more data protection that can be put in place, the better.
Tips for Becoming Anonymous Online
While it’s not always possible to eliminate the risk of stolen data or identity theft, the risk can be dramatically reduced by becoming anonymous. This video from zSecurity outlines some critical steps to take in order to keep data and personal information hidden online:
According to zSecurity, it’s near impossible to completely hide online. However, there are ways to make it much more difficult for third parties to access personal information, such as location, IP address, and account information.
To remain anonymous online, here’s what zSecurity says you should do:
- Ensure the internet connection is private. Consider getting the HTTPS Everywhere browser extension to make your browsing experience more secure. This extension encrypts the information coming to and from your computer, including browsing history.
- Choose a network focused on maintaining anonymity. A secure browser alone doesn’t guarantee you’ll remain anonymous. The Tor network is one of the most popular encrypted networks available.
- Get a VPN. A VPN masks your IP address and location, adding more privacy to the online experience.
- Choose a more secure operating system. Operating systems like Windows and OS collect a large amount of user data. Some excellent options are Linux, and Tails, and Qubes OS.
- Select a secure email provider. Many email services aren’t focused on privacy. A provider such as ProtonMail is a better choice.
Don’t leave internet anonymity up to tech tools. It’s crucial to be cautious about any information shared online. Truly remaining anonymous on the internet means being smart about what is posted to social media, forums, and websites.
Wondering what kinds of information some scammers look to steal online? Take a look at our article here.
~Here’s to Your Survival!
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