We often feel quite comfortable and secure sharing our personal information on online platforms, and some of this information is often sensitive. One thing we fail to understand is unlike the privacy we get when visiting our doctor behind closed doors or closing the bathroom door before taking a shower, online privacy can easily get compromised.
With the rise in technological developments, the Internet is taking over every other traditional method that used to exist before. Nowadays, everything is digital – from banking all the way to marketing. People even look up medical conditions on the Internet, arrange vacations, and interact with friends and relatives through applications such as Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp.
It is, however, essential to keep in mind that every time you download an application, use a social media platform, or visit a website, chances are the company is collecting data on you. Perhaps you’re wondering why they’d do that at all. Most companies or apps track and collect your data on your Internet platforms to get a clearer picture of you – online money lending applications are a good example.
Also, right now, there are companies (data brokers), whose job is to collect and maintain data of millions of people, which they later analyze, package, and sell without permission. Data brokers collect and sell information for several reasons. Some include direct marketing, credit risk assessment, and target advertising.
Although these data brokers usually hide data as well as the Personally Identifiable Information (PII) – name, date of birth, addresses, social security number, etc., it’s still rude to collect anyone’s personal data without permission. Personal information should be protected in any possible way. Several companies such as the Gateway Services offer data security services.
Another thing we should be wary about is the increased level of cyber crimes. Cyber attacks affect not only individuals, but also companies as well, whether big or small. The attacks are usually very costly. It’s essential to invest in good cybersecurity, as long as you or your organization is connected to the Internet.
The good news, however, is that there are steps through which one can protect their private information from insecurities and breaches. These include:
- Use unique usernames and strong passwords to safeguard online data. Passwords are like digital private keys that protect our online information. Using a strong and complicated password will prevent cyber attackers from hacking your accounts and manipulating your personal data. You might as well use Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) to verify your identity, instead of just typing the username and password.
- Avoid opening emails or attachments from links that are unknown or can’t be trusted.
- Install antivirus software and keep all your software up-to-date. A good security software program will safeguard you from other vulnerabilities such as phishing, adware, spyware, and many more.
- Always back up your data. Backing up your data is very important as it protects you from ransomware – a type of attack where hackers hold your information and ask for ransom in exchange.
- Be cautious about what you do with your smartphone. As difficult as it is, being careful with what you post online, apps you download, or the websites you log into, will have a positive effect on your online privacy.
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