Cyber attacks and data breaches make it harder to feel secure in the digital age. The current privacy crisis is complex and multifaceted, with no easy solution.
To thrive in a data-driven society, we must safeguard our personal data.
Why is personal data so valuable?
The size of the personal data market is staggering. A 2017 Equifax data breach exposed the data of 147 million people, costing the company $525 million.
In 2022, the social media giant Facebook faced a $277 million fine from the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC). It was due to the compromise of the personal information of 500 million users.
These incidents highlight the value companies place on consumer data. And this has led to the loss of privacy becoming a major concern in the digital age.
Digital technologies have increased the collection, use and sale of personal data without our consent. Surveillance capitalism is the name given to this phenomenon. It is companies and the government that violate our privacy rights.
Social networks, search engines and online advertisers collect and use our personal data. They use it to create detailed profiles for targeted advertising and manipulation.
The harm that can result from violations of personal privacy is terrifying. Companies may deny you opportunities such as jobs or loans. Or you may be the target of cyber bullying or other forms of bullying. Governments can use personal data to monitor you. They may also target you for prosecution based on your online activities.
This reality has intricate and far-reaching ramifications. The collection of sensitive data without consent denies you the ability to make informed decisions. It can have serious implications for your privacy and autonomy. This abuse can lead to identity theft, financial fraud, emotional distress, and reputational damage.
We must consider the effects of data collection, processing and sale. We must be firm in defending our privacy and autonomy.
What are the Best Security Measures for the Protection of Personal Data?
As of 2022, data breaches affected an estimated 422 million Americans. It’s scary to think about what could happen if someone else got their hands on your personal data.
We collected some efficient ways to safeguard your personal data:
Use a password manager
Password managers generate strong and unique passwords and store them securely. This reduces the likelihood of data breaches. Password managers also protect critical data with two-factor authentication and secure sharing.
Enable two-factor authentication (2FA).
2FA protects online accounts by requiring two types of verification. Your password is of the first type. The second can be a unique pin, an SMS, or biometric data such as fingerprints or facial recognition.
2FA prevents hackers from accessing your email, bank accounts, and other private data. It will prevent hackers from accessing your account even if they have your password.
Control web cookies
Here are several ways to manage web cookies and protect your data:
- Choose a privacy-focused browser. Some browsers have built-in privacy tools that block or delete cookies.
- Use a browser extension to manage cookies. Explore options like “Automatic cookie deletion” or “Privacy Badger.” Both offer useful features for managing cookies.
- Use a cookie manager. Allows you to view and manage cookies on your computer. You can delete specific cookies or block all cookies.
- Clear your cookies frequently. Clearing cookies will remove tracking data. You can delete cookies from your browser’s cache or history.
Be careful when sharing information
Do not share personal information with unknown third parties or through unsecured websites. Instead, keep data safe by storing it in the cloud and sharing it there. This method of file sharing and collaboration is easy to use, secure, and flexible.
Cloud storage allows you to securely exchange files that are too large for instant messaging applications. Upload the file to your cloud storage and provide recipients with a link.
Encryption and 2FA ensure that only authorized people can access your data. It is often crucial when sharing confidential or private material.
Be careful when using public Wi-Fi
Coffee shops, airports, and libraries are not the safest places to work or check social media. Public Wi-Fi networks in these places are not secure. Anyone else using the network could monitor your online activities.
But there is a brilliant solution. Virtual private networks encrypt your traffic, making it harder for hackers to read your data. Think of a VPN as a secret tunnel that protects your online identity by hiding your IP address.
Take control of your personal data and reduce the risk of its unauthorized use. Use strong passwords, avoid sharing private information, and use privacy-enhancing technologies.
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