Have you ever had this concern “Can Wi-Fi track what you search?”
Well, the Internet is a place that provides a person the opportunity to explore various kinds of stuff, and yes, it is also immensely helpful in getting your required service or query fulfilled just at your fingertips. Also, after the wireless distribution of the internet services also known as Wi-fi services came into existence, people started to lean more towards the internet community to surf, download, and play online games.
Although, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Nah! I am not talking about Spidey but about your ISP aka Internet Service Provider or in simple words your Wi-Fi provider. And therefore, to give a satisfying answer to your concern, I will be providing my brief analyses, and some simple hacks with this article, that will help to save your day.
So, let’s dive in!
Can Wi-Fi track what you search?
To be very frank, YES! Your Wi-Fi provider or the Wi-fi admin can track almost everything that you search on the internet if you are using their internet services. For instance, even if you are searching this particular query i.e. “Can Wi-fi track what you search”, on your mobile browser or chrome browser, it is very much plausible that your Wi-fi is tracking every webpage or site that you are visiting.
This information gave you chills right? But it is a harsh truth whether you believe it or not. Usually, old Wi-Fi routers were not that vulnerable, but the latest ones have an in-built tracking feature that allows Wi-Fi providers or Wi-Fi admins to see what you have searched on the internet.
Even the person whose Wi-Fi you are using can keep track of whatever you search on his network, but only if he is quite of a tech-savvy person himself or else he can’t.
Can Wi-Fi see your search history?
This is the second most common searched query on the internet, and again to answer this YES, a Wi-Fi provider or a Wi-Fi admin can easily track your search history.
As I have mentioned earlier, old routers are not so vulnerable and that person needs to be tech-savvy to take control of your internet activity including search records, but the new ones are so much prone to vulnerability due to the in-built tracking feature, which allows the admin to access your search history no matter what.
Can Wi-Fi see your search history on private browsing?
Unfortunately, YES, a Wi-Fi can see your search history and your IP address even if you are surfing on private browsing mode or Incognito mode. Not to forget, cookies are also stored in your computer and are used to track your activity.
Can you search your search history on your Wi-Fi and Phone bill?
If you are concerned about this specific query, then I would suggest you take a deep breath of relief, as the answer is a big NO. Your Wi-Fi or Phone bill will only show your data usage, not the browsing history.
Although your Wi-fi provider may call you to inspect regarding excessive usage of data or downloading pirated or copyrighted content from the internet, it happens very rarely and is also communicated separately.
What can be monitored on Wi-Fi?
So, if you are thinking about what a Wi-Fi admin can eventually do with my internet track records and what advantage will he get from it?
To answer this, you must have heard this proverb “Better to be safe than Sorry” ample of times and the same is applicable here. There are “n” number of things that can be monitored on Wi-Fi, that can even cost you every penny of your life.
With that being said, here is a list of things that can be monitored on Wi-Fi:
- Wi-fi can track the exact time of your log-in and log-out on the internet.
- The exact time you spent online.
- Your source and destination IP addresses.
- The time you spent on a particular website.
- Unencrypted HTTP site data.
- Specific URLs that you have visited.
If you are surfing on your mobile phone, you can be monitored for:
- The apps you were using.
- Search history on unencrypted HTTP websites.
- The source and destination IP addresses.
And, if he is a pro at his work and wants to track all of your mobile phone activity through Wi-fi using tracking software, he can track:
- Your call logs.
- Text messages.
- Images and Photos.
- Voice messages.
And, if at any point a hacker jumps into the scene, then you will be doomed for life because a hacker can easily access your personal data and steal them for ransom or even hack your bank account using your current digital bank credentials and steal your hard-earned money.
So, to justify the entire discussion; Wi-fi technology is an open technology, and is very much flawed in terms of security. Therefore, to protect yourself from these kinds of vulnerable attacks that can steal your privacy and even your sleep at some point, I will suggest you a few solutions to avoid getting tracked on Wi-Fi.
Solutions that can keep you safe while using Wi-Fi:
There are a few effective solutions that you can apply to keep yourself safe while using Wi-Fi.
- Using a VPN service:
I have said this many times, and I am not tired of saying it again, please get a premium VPN service for yourself. A VPN server can help hide your browsing data even from your Wi-Fi provider. A good VPN service comes with 256-bit military encryption which makes it harder for the Wi-Fi provider to snoop around.
It also comes with Kill switch feature that instantly kills your internet connection, if for any reason your VPN connection drops out. Additionally, your original IP address also stays private, because a VPN server allots you a dummy IP address so that your Wi-fi can’t detect it.
So, better get a good premium VPN service for yourself as soon as possible, and block your Wi-Fi provider’s snooping activities.
- Using Opera Browser:
The second solution that I want to provide you with is installing Opera Browser. No, this is not an affiliate suggestion, but my own personal suggestion. I use Opera for my daily tasks and it is super snappy, and secondly, Opera comes with in-built VPN servers which will help you keep your search history private. So, if you don’t want to spend your cash on a VPN service as of now, you should definitely opt for this brilliant option.
Although there is a catch here, and that is, Opera only provides three different locations; Europe, Asia, and America, so you only have limited options.
- Always access HTTPS sites instead of an HTTP one:
So first of all, to make it clear for you, HTTP stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol, whereas HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure.
To simply make you understand must have noticed a lock sign and a triangular shape sign with an exclamation mark respectively besides every website URL you visit. So, every website with a lock sign is HTTPS secured website, and a website with an Exclamatory mark inside a triangle is HTTP unsecured website.
The key difference between these two protocols is the letter ‘S’, which stands for SSL/TSL certificate, that is implemented on top of HTTP. SSL/TSL certificates are global standard security certificates, that allow secure communication between a web browser and a server.
All the data passing through SSL-backed up sites is encrypted to some extent, thus blocking your Wi-fi admin from accessing your live search queries or history. Although, Wi-Fi admin can still see the name of the websites you visit and what pages you opened up on that website.
- Use a proxy:
You can use proxy too, as they route your traffic to another location, giving you access to geo-restricted websites and hiding your browsing history from your Wi-fi providers. Although not all proxies encrypt your traffic, thus leaving you vulnerable to most of the attacks and search history monitoring.
- Use Tor browser:
Finally, you can also use the Tor browser, which helps you to hide your search history from the Wi-fi router. Tor routes your traffic through multiple server’s aka nodes, that are managed by volunteers.
Additionally, Tor’s servers are located all across the world, which makes it impossible for your Wi-fi provider or admin to track your exact location.
However, Tor can’t be considered as the best solution, because (a) It only works for browsers leaving your other software’s and files vulnerable to attacks, (b) Can’t protect you on other devices, (c) No surety of the person who manages the servers for your traffic, it can be a hacker or a government entity too, and finally (d) Significant slow connection as your traffic travels through so many nodes.
So, with this discussion, we are all clear that no matter what, your Wi-fi provider can see and track your search history even if you are using internet service from a known provider. And therefore, we need to practice safe methods that will help us protect our search activity and history from Wi-Fi at all costs.
And on that note, these were my insights on the topic “Can Wi-fi track what you search”, along with some solutions that will help you tackle the problem. Hopefully, your quench for this search query is fulfilled through this article.