Internet users who believe their (real) lives in the physical world will be shielded from online behavior are mistaken, cybersecurity experts say.
"The notion that there's this world on the internet and then there's real life, and that these are two separate things is simply not true anymore," says Eva Galperin, director of cybersecurity at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which promotes free speech online.
And believing otherwise can have grave consequences, especially for political activists, human rights advocates or others who express opinions online that prove unpopular or controversial.
Galperin told a recent cybersecurity forum in San Francisco that a belief one can stay anonymous on the internet is "one of the core conceits" of our age.
Anonymity in the digital world -- if it ever existed at all -- has largely been eliminated, Galperin and others say, by a combination of technology and online behavior.
That includes the pervasiveness of tracking and surveillance software and the global proliferation of malware produced not just by individual hackers but by nation-states and organized criminals.
Just as important is the sheer number of devices now accessible over the Internet.
In February, the research firm Gartner predicted that 8.4 billion "things" would be linked online this year. That's a rise of 31% from 2016.
More devices mean more targets.
"We see 120 million attacks every day," or almost 1,400 per second, says Vincent Steckler, CEO of Avast, a private security-software company based in the Czech Republic with 65 million U.S. users.