Reaching out for your cellphone even before you open your eyes, checking social media, emails, and messages before you retire for the day. Does this sound so much like you? Trust me, and you're not alone. In a world that has over 5.11 billion unique mobile users, this pattern of staying glued to their smartphones and depending on apps for almost every function is typical behavior. While technology has enhanced the quality of life and made it easy for businesses to offer personalized services to the customers, it does have a flip side too.
"If you're not paying for it, you're the product." A famous quote that's been in use in the marketing space for decades now finds relevance even in the data security space today. With thousands of websites, tools, and apps available for free over the internet and with millions of users using them every day, the data is open to everyone with ease. On this "Data Protection Day," we bring you a list of precautions you could take to ensure that your data and privacy isn't compromised in the attempt to lead a comfortable life
What's World Data Protection Day?
A decade and a half ago, in the year 2006, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe agreed to have a day dedicated to world Data Protection and vowed to use this opportunity to create awareness on data security measures, the protective measures an individual could take, and much more. Since then, January 28 of every year is commemorated as the world "Data Protection Day" or the "Privacy Day."
Why is it essential, and for whom?
While data security is essential not just to protect user privacy, it is also a person's fundamental right to know how their data is used and where. An awareness of data privacy is crucial now than it ever was, given the vast amount of data we share through our connected devices. Everything from the number times a person's heartbeats per minute, to the calories they consume, the health of their family members to that of their car is available on the cloud.
We decided to use this Data Privacy Day to create awareness on how you could protect your data, avoid data theft, and ensure you have a secure online presence.
Here's How You Can Stay Safe Online!
Data encryption is no longer something only the tech geeks can do. The current day technology makes it easy not just to steal your data, but also to protect it. One way you could do that seamlessly is to encrypt all your information online. Starting from your Whatsapp conversations to Emails, everything can be encrypted. This will ensure that nobody but the intended party gets to see the information.
Malware attack is a serious problem that more people than you’d like to believe experience. Everything from a Ransom ware attack is a problem you could avoid if you have anti-malware software. Wondering how a malware attack could happen? The source could be anything from your emails, websites, or hidden in various downloadable files, that are available on the internet. Did you know that a scammer could also disguise a malware in the form of an email from a family, friend, or any other trusted business? Anti-malware software offers an extra layer of protection, which will ensure that no data leaves your computer without your consent.
Turn off the devices
When you leave your device on even after using it, you make it possible for scammers and hackers to access your data with ease. In other words, they would be able to install malware in your system and access your data or commit any other form of cyber-crime effortlessly. So, always ensure you disconnect the internet and turn off your device to be safe.
Leave no trace
Always remember to overwrite deleted files, folders, and data to ensure that nobody can trace out any information that might have been stored in the past. Hackers can recover deleted files with ease if you do not overwrite it. When you are replacing your old computers, hard disks, and storage drives make sure shred the files and sanitize the disk.
Wireless Network Security
Always connect your devices only to trusted wireless network. Also ensure that your home and work wireless network is secured using a strong password. To avoid free-loaders trying to use your Wi-Fi or hackers trying to get their hands on your information, you can always hide your Wi-Fi network and prevent it from broadcasting the information online.
Stay wary of “Free” websites and apps
There are no free lunches in this world. So, be sure what you’re signing up for every time you use free software or app. Read the terms and conditions carefully and make sure you are not selling your valuable data in an attempt to save a few dollars. Think twice before you give access to all your photos, messages, and calls every time you install an app. Think twice about why a shopping app or music would want to read your messages and emails.
These are just a few sanity checks you need to do to ensure you’re safe online. If your network was hacked, data compromised, or private information shared online, use this as a learning opportunity and ensure that you are safe at all times. Spread awareness amongst all your friends and peers to ensure nobody falls for the bait of online scammers, hackers, etc.
If you have more tips that one could use to stay safe online, kindly share them in the comments below!