Friday, December 6, 2019

How To Keep Your Data Safe Online?

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Anika Manchanda
Anika, a voracious reader and a literature student, believes in the power of written word and loves to spend her time sketching and painting.
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In an age of rampant growth in the field of technology, how do we keep data breaches at bay?

As the number of users registering on astoundingly diverse online platforms is increasing every day, it is imperative for not only the youngsters, but for everyone to keep their personal information safe and secure online.

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Most of the social media sites with their registered network of users are always prone to data breaches. In October 2018, Facebook reported its worst security breach that left the data of 50 million users vulnerable to attackers. There is a major concern regarding third party content platforms exploiting the user’s data and misusing it for political propagandas.

The Equifax data breach in 2017 gave unauthorized access of its users’ sensitive data to cyber criminals. Nearly 147 million people were reported to be affected.

The uses of collected data:

The information is used by companies for marketing purposes, where they generate targeted advertisements by analysing the user’s data to influence the mass audience. It can also be used for asserting political influence over the masses. The collected data is used by Analytics Companies, who further sell this data to third party platforms. The sensitive information of the users registered on the platform can also be misused by malicious hackers, if preventive measures aren’t taken.

Steps to ensure privacy and safety on social media platforms:

  • Get a strong password: Use strong and different passwords for different social networks. The password must be at least 6 digits long containing alphabets, numbers and symbols.
  • Change your password regularly: It is important to keep changing your password regularly. It minimizes the risk of getting prone to attacks and hackers.
  • Don’t give access to your devices: Be mindful of who you give access to your devices such as your mobile and laptop.
  • Cyber Laws: Everyone must be aware about cyber-crimes and cyber laws so that it is easier to take immediate and stringent action, if data breach occurs.
  • Verify spam emails before opening them: Spam mails tend to contain executable viruses in the form of a .exe file.
  • Verify the source of a file: Check for an authenticate source before downloading files and attachments from websites.
  • Encrypt hotspots from being accessible to other devices: Hotspots could allow any hacker in the vicinity to steal the user’s data without their knowledge
  • Avoid clicking on suspicious posts or advertisements: While some of them may be genuine, most of them are spam, luring users into compromising their account/ sensitive information.

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