Today, scandals around personal data leakage and stealth one after another. Many people believe that cybercriminals on the Internet target the data of the rich and the famous exclusively. However, it is quite a misconception that can jeopardize those who do not take it seriously. Personal data of commonplace users getting into the hands of fraudsters allows the latter to profit from it.
If you are not proficient in the matters of personal data security, you may find LifeLock quite useful. It makes sure your personal data stays safe, whether it is your date of birth or all the billing information you want to secure. Is LifeLock any good? You can see it yourself or read the reviews of other users.
So what is personal data? It is information that allows one to identify a person, namely the user. It includes a surname, name, date of birth, residence, ID credentials, social security number, and workplace. However, the password from the Internet account does not apply to personal data since it does not provide the actual information about a person.
How Is Personal Information Transferred?
People pay for using free internet with their data. Corporations like Google, which are based on data analysis from various sources, determine the needs of users. Their earnings depend on advertising. Therefore, the choice of broadcast announcements depends on the study of web user requests.
Facebook displays advertising information based on user profile information and pages they mark with their likes. When people use sharing buttons like Repost or Retweet, it allows companies to receive more user data and sell it to advertising companies. It, in turn, gives them an additional profit.
When one works with a service, the user agrees with the suggested conditions for their personal data use. Services gain access to data when a user logs in or shows interest by clicking on links and marking publications that they like.
Each internet company provides different ways to protect the personal information of users on the web. Some of them encrypt the content of emails, the correspondent’s personal information, and the username used. They distribute them at three points, the security of which is ensured by three groups of system administrators.
The coordinated participation of three groups at once is required to gain access to data, which is impossible without internal procedures. An attempt to open unauthorized access to user data is automatically logged and transmitted to the company’s security service.
Who Needs Personal Information and Why?
Your data can be used not only for identification but also for fraud. The lack of personal data protection causes a leak, and your personal data may be used for fraud. Most common frauds with personal data are:
- Data spoofing to perform certain actions. Thanks to obtained personal data, one can create a fake account on social networks or conduct a fraudulent operation;
- Stealing user billing data: credit card numbers, electronic wallets, or accounts of paid online games. They open access to funds, which requires knowledge of personal data;
- Deleting personal data. The destruction of users’ personal information blocks the operation of the service, and the information received is used for criminal purposes.
Not only attackers use personal data. Targeted advertising specialists are actively interested in the personal data of users. The main source of information for this type of advertising is cookies, which are transmitted by the user’s browser to the advertising agency’s server.
How to Protect Personal Data?
It is almost impossible to completely secure your data when you intend to use the internet. Today, any PC can be used as a tracking tool, if there is a network connection. However, some measures will help you to minimize risks and complicate the life of cyber fraudsters. Instead of a challenging victim, they always choose the easier one. Here are some tips on how to protect yourself and your personal information from stealing.
- Your online banking, email, and personal social networks should have several different phone numbers and email addresses connected to them. It’s best if these numbers and addresses are not your primary ones for everyday use. A separate phone number is especially useful for banking operations because they concern the security of your money.
- This point may seed a little exaggerated, but users must understand its importance. In no case should you leave information about yourself on dubious resources, send scanned personal documents to individuals and companies for no good reason, and even more so: do not upload photos of your passport or ID to social networks.
- Your profile on social networks should not be accessible to everyone. Leave your personal information to be visible to friends or relatives. However, it is unacceptable to tell everyone around about your family ties, place of work, study, and the most current location. The same applies to add strangers as friends. Social media is no longer a harmless environment; any unfamiliar account may turn out to be fraudulent.
- Do not share your passwords with anyone, do not enter passwords in plain sight, and do not keep them in a document on the desktop of your personal or work PC. Also, passwords must be changed at least once a month and written down on paper. The optimal length of a secure password is 16 characters, including numbers and spaces. The autocomplete function of logins and passwords should also be turned off.
- Exclude links that are intended to update information about you. In general, any links must be checked, even if they are received from friends in a private dialogue. Also, permission for accessing applications to data on the phone is best given only as a last resort.
Publishing one’s data, such as phone or email address, requires the consent of the user. Similarly, at the request of a citizen, information can be removed from the public domain.