How Much Private Information Do You Give Away Every Day?
In the era of forums and social media, data privacy becomes ever more important as there are more and more dangers for the unsuspecting computer users to disclose private personal information. You may easily become addicted and share too much about your private life trying to keep up with your friends or basic trends. Most users do not even realize the potential dangers of such behavior in the virtual world. So, let us tell you in more detail what you should be wary of while you are surfing the web.
Online data privacy threats.
We have seen a significant boom in the number of online forums and social networking websites in the past few years. Now there are giants like Facebook, which alone has over 2.2 billion monthly active users. Can you imagine the amount of information so many people may share? And, there are several other similar platforms that regularly share our personal information like Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, and Snapchat, to mention a few top ones.
Even if you have a good password policy to protect your accounts, nothing can protect your data privacy. Not, if you keep sharing all kinds of private information, such as your date of birth, your address, your current location, who you are with right now, where your kids are, what kind of cool 4K TV set you just bought. You may even post photos where there are some post-it notes in the background revealing your passwords. Yes, the last one does sometimes happen because users do not even realize the objects in their surroundings when, for example, taking selfies.
Unfortunately, criminals can easily use all this information to break in and rob your home, kidnap your child, or simply, break into your computer or your private accounts to steal sensitive private information. You may have heard that “information is power”; however, it also means money for crooks. Personal information can be sold on the Dark Web or other platforms and cyber criminals can use that for all kinds of ugly crimes. They can, for instance, commit online fraud in your name. A lot of people still do not consider data privacy as an important issue.
Crooks know no limits.
Most people do not even suppose that there could be fake accounts on forums and social networking sites as well. These fake users may try to get close to real users by being all friendly at first or showing similar interests. There are a lot of lonely people who can easily fall for such tricks. This is when they may start sharing way too much information about themselves. This is also called social engineering. Some crooks will go as far as stealing one of your friends' picture and create a fake account with it to pose as someone you know so that you would friend them back. Then, they could send you malicious links and share other infectious materials with you, or simply get some private personal information from you.
But not only forums and social networking websites can be dangerous when it comes to data privacy. Another possible threat source is spam emails. Even though you certainly have a spam filter for every email account you own, the human factor cannot be avoided when it comes to opening junk mail. Cybercriminals may use authentic sender names and email addresses as well as convincing subject lines to get your attention. However, if you open spam, you may feel inclined to click on the link in the message or run the attached file out of curiosity.
How else your data privacy can be hurt?
It is also possible that your computer is infected with adware programs or you click on the wrong third-party banner or pop-up advertisement on a suspicious website, and you get redirected to a malicious website. Such a site may claim that your computer needs immediate technical support due to an allegedly dangerous malware attack and you must call the provided phone number immediately. Conveniently it's the usual scenario of a so-called technical support scam. If you call this telephone number, you could be asked to provide some private personal information before you could be pushed to purchase a useless security application or service to fix your supposed system security issue.
What you can do to avoid privacy security issues.
As you can see now, there are many ways your data privacy could be breached every day and cybercriminals could misuse the collected private information for their vicious purposes. It is essential that you protect yourself by avoiding shady websites and clicking on questionable third-party advertisements. Preferably, you can install a reliable anti-malware program to defend your PC against all known threats. Other than that, be more conscious of what you share about yourself and your private life not to become the next target for cybercriminals.