Hi there! Welcome to Zero Trust Online! You may call me Burkhard Botwight, and I strive to provide the best educational content which teaches how to protect and preserve your privacy and anonymity when interacting on the internet, whether it be casual browsing, engaging in social media, performing online transactions, sending e-mails, and much more.

Zero Trust Online is a place and community for people to connect, and share their knowledge and experiences.

Why is privacy important?

I don’t have anything to hide. Privacy is for criminals, trying to get away with illegal activities online. Privacy isn’t something necessary online.

…said “The Girl Next Door”

I believe that your privacy is a fundamental constitutional right, and something to preserve and fight for. We all have things in our lives that we consider private and would prefer not to share – most would rather not walk down the streets naked, or allow anyone to watch them while in the bathroom or bedroom. Likewise, you wouldn’t want the transcript of a call you had with your best friend published for anyone to see, while that person confided something important to you. Preserving privacy is part of being a good citizen, and is not something to be ashamed of.

Your privacy rights are being threatened every day. Large corporations like Google, Facebook, and Amazon are collecting information about your interests and monitoring your activity, attempting to build a digital model of your personal profile. You’d be shocked to know how much they know about you. This data is then being monetized by providing targeted audiences of a specific profile that an advertiser is looking for, and through a variety of means of manipulation, advertisers are able to sway you to buy their products in a way that many believe in unethical.

In the context of online activity, preserving your privacy is a means of keeping yourself safe, and should be part of your security measures. Hackers work around the clock to discover exploits, and almost every day they’re successful in a data breach, publishing and selling the information you provided to a website in confidence, such as your name, phone #, address, and sometimes credit card information. All of this is preventable.

Who are you? Are you spreading FUD?

I use the pseudo alias Burkhard Botwight to conduct my activity online as a means of keeping secure, safe, and private. As a Software Architect with over 20 years experience, I’ve had the opportunity to work with many different kinds of companies that conduct ecommerce transactions. My technical background allows me to scrutinize security measures at a low-level in such detail. Many of the sites you interest with were built by what I refer to as “Site Builders”, a developer that is usually self-taught and has knowledge of how to take existing open source software components, and assemble them together to provide an ecommerce solution. As skilled as these developers are, they often neglect, or lack the knowledge, to consider the proper security measures that must be taken when implementing an ecommerce platform. Most also lack the software engineering background that would allow them to study the code or architecture in detail to identify possible exploits.

Although this applies to organizations of any size, it’s small businesses that are usually the most vulnerable to an attack. Most likely, these business owners are entrepreneurs have little knowledge of how the internet and web technologies work under the hood, and therefore delegate the task of building the ecommerce capabilities of their sites to a third-party, and often try to cut their costs, and Site Builders often fit the bill. Unfortunately, many of these entrepreneurs are not qualified to assess the qualifications of the Site Builders they hire, especially in the realm of security, and are therefore expose their customers to a lot of risk. Think about it – what do you think your local restaurant has done a security audit of their website used to process online take-out orders? Probably not.

I never stop learning, and its only recently that I started to be more concerned about my online privacy. After a close friend had their line of credit maxed out by mistakenly interacting with a online phishing attack, I witnessed how vulnerable the ones we care about are exposed to risks online, and that due to lack of knowledge and precautions, our friends, family, and children are all subject to exploitation.

I do not wish to spread fear, uncertaintly, or doubt, but merely educate you and provide all the tips necessary to keep yourself safe.

Your privacy matters.