By Ebenezer Allen
You may not physically interact with anyone over the internet, but that doesn’t mean that you are safe from cybercriminals. You should take care of your online privacy just like you protect your home from burglars or intruders.
Internet, or online privacy, refers to all measures needed to protect yourself when connected to the internet. It includes all technologies, security procedures, and privacy policies that protect your personal, financial, and other sensitive information from being exposed online.
Why should you care about online privacy?
We have heard the terms ‘hacking’ and ‘virus attacks’ for as long as the internet has been popular. Perhaps these have frightened us from the time we first started to use the internet. Thus, to stay protected from hacking and cyber attacks, taking care of online privacy is important.
Although no security measures are completely perfect, by employing a few basic techniques and taking care of your online existence, you can achieve greater online privacy and security. The more careful you remain while using the internet, the more protected you will be from cyber attacks.
Threats to your online security and privacy:
From your browser, to the search engine and the websites you visit, nothing you do online is private. This data is continuously being recorded and is kept saved. The information is then used for advertising purposes and may also be intercepted by cybercriminals.
Spying and Surveillance:
Cybercriminals and government agencies remain interested in your online activities. For this, they use various methods. The simplest of these methods is taking your data from the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and the telecommunication companies. Whereas, the trickiest way can be the use of spyware and other spying tools.
Cybercriminals are particularly interested in identity theft. They can exploit your personal and financial details to steal money and execute other malicious activities while impersonating you.
Ransomware attacks involve taking over your device and encrypting your data. The attackers then demand ransom from the victim to release the encrypted files. However, after you pay the money, there is no surety that they will unencrypt your data. Even if they do, they may still keep a copy of your data with them. So, despite paying the money, you remain at risk.
Sometimes, the hackers simply want access to your device with no straight forward aim. For instance, they may run a campaign while exploiting vulnerabilities to compromise a large number of devices. They may do this to spread fear and establish themselves as more hazardous in the cybercrime world. Sometimes, all they want is your data, while other times they want access to your device which they can then exploit for computing requirements. For example, cybercriminals may use your machine for cryptomining.
Online Bullying and Harassment:
While this may not be a direct threat to your device, it certainly affects human psychology. Teens, kids, and people living an underprivileged life (in reality or according to their perception) are more vulnerable to cyberbullying. Cybercriminals simply spot your weak point to hit. Then, they can even instigate you to commit an evil act – suicide or murder are no exception. A recent example may be the BlueWhale game that scared the whole world.
Ebenezer Allen, MBA, CFE is a Cyber Security & Data Privacy Expert in the United States.