There are countless reasons why people go online. It can be for entertainment purposes, such as watching videos and streaming music. It can be for communication, from connecting with a long-time friend who now lives on the other side of the globe to catching up with a family member when your schedules failed to meet. It can also be for errands like shopping or setting up a doctor’s appointment.
Going online is the norm that we do without giving it much thought. However, there are unpalatable aspects that you should not take for granted.
Have you considered your safety online? We are not only talking about cybercrimes, which is grave in itself. We want to focus on the often neglected part of online security—your personal information.
Some of the biggest and most popular social networking sites and apps have been collecting important data that can put you at the mercy of hackers. Your personal information and payment details could be sold on the black market, as shown in the facts and statistics gathered by the folks at TechJury.
The Types of Data Collected
There are many kinds of data that various sites collect. It includes your personal information like name, email address, and contact number. There is also your hardware and software information such as your OS, ISP, IP, and browser details. Your GPS location can also be collected.
Another sensitive data that can be at risk is your payment details. Online sale transactions require credit or debit card number and other card information.
How Collected Data Are Used
Usually, collected data are used within the network itself. On Facebook, whatever you post and share can be seen by the people within your network. The same is true with Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social networks.
Other data help networks and apps in tailoring targeted ads and customizing recommendations that you will see. There are some data as well that are being used by third-party companies to improve the platforms’ services.
Notable Data Breaches and Leaks
Cases of data breaches and leaks are numerous. In 2016, a Facebook bug has leaked the private contact information of six million users. The same year, Twitter also experienced a horrible online attack when passwords of 32 million users have been hacked and leaked.
LinkedIn users, on the other hand, found their details put on sale for around €1,500 on the Dark Web.
The US University of New Haven’s cyber forensics research and education group discovered in 2014 that the shared WhatsApp location data could be intercepted through a rogue access point or a man-in-the-middle attack as it was left unencrypted.
Tips on Keeping Your Data Safe
In an ever-connected world in the internet age, nobody is immune to data breaches and leakages. The burden to protect one’s data lies in the users themselves.
Even security professionals are not that careful. In fact, it is found that 50% of them haven’t changed social network passwords for a year or more, while 20% of them have never changed it.
As a network and app user, it is your responsibility to take steps in securing your account and data. Aside from protecting passwords by never sharing them with anyone, it is also important to use login verification and extra security features.
Before you download anything, make sure you think first. It is also advisable to run anti-virus software on your devices. When you access accounts on shared computers, never forget to log out. And always remember to only sign in using trusted devices.
They say awareness is security. Knowing the repercussions of sharing your details and personal information online can help you become more cautious in the future. You can also start taking the necessary steps to protect yourself today.