International Data Privacy Day is an opportunity to pause and reflect on our privacy practices, improving our defensive postures to keep our information private and secure.
Our lives are increasingly lived out on the internet as we work remotely, connect with others through social media, and shop online. Unfortunately, in today’s digital landscape, protecting our privacy online has become increasingly precarious. It’s time to take back control of our information.
January 28th is International Data Privacy Day and it kicks off Data Privacy Month—February. This year’s event challenges users to “own your privacy,” a timely reminder that maintaining personal privacy on the internet is a critical task that requires intentional effort.
Why Protecting Personal Data is Important
In the first three-quarters of 2020, there were 2,935 publicly reported data breaches, collectively compromising more than 8 billion records. The number of data breaches and record exposures has grown every year since 2015. Bad actors deploy increasingly sophisticated tactics to steal user data, which puts people at risk in several ways.
- Scam and Spam exposure
Threat actors often rely on stolen data to deploy personalized attacks to target recipients, and even minor interactions with these malicious messages can lead to more profound problems. For example, interacting with a spam call costs victims more than $350. In total, Americans lost nearly $20 billion to scam calls in the past year.
- Rabbit Hole of The Dark Web
The dark web is filled with illicit markets for breached information, putting people at risk of financial fraud, account takeovers, medical scams, synthetic identity theft, and other cybercrimes. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) receives more than three million fraud cases each year. This trend is likely to persist, making it imperative that internet users take steps to protect their information.
- People-Search Sites and Social Media
In many cases, bad actors don’t even have to delve into the dark web to retrieve personal data. Many people are appalled to find their personal information readily available through people-search sites. Others can’t help unintentionally oversharing important details on social media, opening the door for cybercrime.
In addition to putting peoples’ financial well-being at risk, exposed personal information elevates the risk of real-life threats like stalking, swatting, doxing, and harassment. Similarly, the reputation damage and career implications for data privacy violations can be catastrophic.
Ultimately, safeguarding personal data is an essential aspect of effectively navigating the digital age.
Tips for Keeping Your Data Secure
While threat actors are always working to find novel ways to compromise peoples’ valuable personal information, every internet user can take steps to help secure their data. Data Privacy Day is a great time to start!
#1 Value & Protect Personal Information
Modern digital ecosystem is powered by highly-personalized ads and platform experiences, making personal data a highly valuable commodity. In fact, several of the most popular tech companies in the world are fueled by this resource, leaving many pundits to dub data “the world’s most valuable resource.”
Simply put, all of your personal information, from your purchase history to your location data, has immense value, and it should be secured accordingly. To achieve this, consider conducting a personal privacy audit, including:
- deleting unused apps
- reviewing app and website permissions
- reconsidering who gets access to personal information.
Your information is the currency of today’s internet. Value and protect it as the precious asset that it is.
#2 Pause Before Posting
Performative online culture is ubiquitous. It’s common to document every part of our days through pictures, videos, location tags, and social media posts. Oversharing, sharenting, and other dangerous online posting patterns can quickly become problematic when not accompanied by intentionality and moderation.
Commit to thinking before posting about yourself and others online. Consider the information revealed, who might view it, and how it could be utilized now and in the future.
#3 Own Your Online Presence
Users increasingly have a say in their data footprint. Everyone can harness this power to own their online presence. Each of our devices, browsers, and platforms have unique features that limit how and with whom you share information.
Take time to review these standards and make adjustments accordingly. Meanwhile, removing your information from people-search sites can help ensure that people can only access the information you want to share.
Your personal information is yours, and it should be treated as the personal asset that it is. At OneRep, we are committed to helping you achieve peace-of-mind by protecting your personal privacy online. We’ve already removed more than one-million records from people-search sites and continue safeguarding your privacy by automatically removing your information from the web.
Remove your sensitive info from the web
OneRep’s algorithm scans 107 data brokers and removes your records from all people-search sites that publish them