Accepting cookies, using public Wi-Fi and even having a smart washing machine are just some of the ways people are making themselves ‘trackable’, according to experts.
Others are also guilty of signing up to mailing lists, sharing fitness achievements via apps and using Wi-Fi when out, which can result in personal details being accessed by others.
Experts revealed people can be tracked by almost all devices connected to the internet, due to being embedded with technology such as processing chips, software and sensors which collect data.
All objects connected via the internet are typically monitored and controlled remotely, including smart watches, tablets, laptops and even doorbells.
And devices which are equipped with voice command capabilities can listen to and record conversations.
NordVPN’s digital privacy expert Daniel Markuson also revealed how dangerous public Wi-Fi is – which essentially gets people online in exchange for valuable sign-on data such as email addresses, social media profiles and phone numbers.
“When you use ‘free’ public Wi-Fi there’s a good chance it’s managed by a third-party provider which gets you online in exchange for your valuable sign-on data.
“What might surprise you is that some hotspot providers are taking data collection a step further and quietly tracking millions of users’ whereabouts even after they’ve left the establishment.”
Almost four in 10 have used social media channels with auto log in while connected to public Wi-Fi and 37 per cent have logged into their personal emails.
More than a quarter have also filled in a form with personal details such as their name, address or phone number, and 24 per cent have used an online banking app via public Wi-Fi.
The most popular places to log on were found to be hotels (47 per cent), eateries (47 per cent) and airports (37 per cent).
Worryingly, 24 per cent feel their data is generally secure when using public Wi-Fi, but experts warned the convenience comes at a price of people’s personal data and privacy.
Almost two thirds trust their internet service provider to keep their information safe but 84 per cent are worried about being tracked online.
People believe it’s possible to be tracked by their mobile phone (73 per cent), laptop (69 per cent) and desktop computer (67 per cent) but are less convinced that their smart home devices can do so.
The survey also found people are most afraid of their banking information, passwords and addresses being hacked from their devices, yet 38 per cent admitted to using the same password across their devices and accounts.
And more than a third have their bank login details saved to their phone or computer while 23 per cent share their fitness achievements via apps.
To find out how you could be getting tracked and top tips on how to stay safe, you can go to: https://nordvpn.com/tracked-down/