“Online privacy ought not to be optional and isn’t the ultimate price we should be so willing to accept for a chance to be on the internet.” These are profound words from Gary Kovacs, and they really put perspective on today’s pressing issue of data privacy.
Online privacy is a matter not taken seriously enough by most smart device users. With the increasing pressure from online advertisers, privacy invaders are actively taking advantage of peoples’ limited awareness of the subject matter. Your personal data could be getting tracked right now and sold off to different tech operators. This way, your location can be tracked, spied on and even defrauded.
Priveledges Enjoyed by People in Countries with Data Privacy Laws
Even with the described limitations, digital technology has been exceptional in complementing modern lifestyles. We are arguably on the precipice of a digital golden age. The ability to transact online has generated myriads of opportunities in the expanding digital economy. Such opportunities can be leveraged all across the world, but the problem is, online privacy laws are not standardized globally.
In regions where the government highly prioritizes data protection, their digital economies are able to thrive due to increased user confidence. In developed economic landscapes such as Canada, there are federal privacy acts that protect data on both the national and international level. The stringent privacy laws have been an enabling factor for Canada’s digital ecosystem.
Consequently, Canadians exploit more opportunities online and transact with different online banking methods without fear of getting compromised. This has turned the country into a digital hub and leader in fast-rising online-based industries. Take, for instance, the rapidly growing eSports industry whose global revenue is valued close to a billion dollars in 2020. During the coronavirus imposed lockdown that has slumped many world economies, Canadian gamers have been able to grow successful online careers competing remotely. The advanced Canadian gaming culture and the legalized online casinos have garnered interest the world over, and it’s all as a result of increased Cybersecurity.
Below are ways to protect yourself online.
Check App and Browser Permissions
Whenever you download an app or browser extension, you most probably would be prompted with a notification requesting special permissions that the program supposedly cannot work without. Some requests could be genuine, but most programs demand more than they require. Therefore, you have to be careful when allowing such apps since they could encroach your privacy by tracking your online patterns and feeding the data to marketing agencies and other operators.
Fortunately, most mobile phones and computer devices have permissions editing function in the apps settings section. You should regularly check to ensure no apps have ridiculous permissions that are not essential for their operation. It would also be best if you don’t rush to tick user terms and conditions checkbox next time you download any app or software. You will be surprised by some of the terms sneaked in by tech developers to legally cover themselves.
Opt for End-to-end Encryption Messaging Apps
Messaging apps require the highest level of security protocols to protect user information. Poorly secured apps or sites track keywords in your conversations to sell the same to marketers. Without the end-to-end encryption, you might also find your deepest secrets exposed due to a server hacking incident. End-to-end encryption is secure such that the contents of a message are fully encrypted before reaching the receiver.
Review Your Privacy Settings and Ad Personalization
Some social media platforms access sensitive data about people’s lives and make the data available to third parties. Therefore, we need to be extra vigilant about data security on social platforms by checking to ensure that all the data privacy settings are set as required. Most of these platforms provide options to turn features on and off and limit audiences to users’ data.
Download the Latest Security Updates
Security updates are the most ignored updates among regular smartphone users. However, they play a significant role in protecting these devices from malicious attacks and data corruption. Security updates carry the latest security features, which help keep you a few steps ahead of hackers. An old security system is vulnerable as there is always some fraudster innovating means of bypassing the old system.
Hackers also inject viruses and Trojans, which are cleared by timely security updates. Having the latest updates also ensures no backdoors are left for hackers to penetrate a system. Hence, your data remains secure, with the full support of the software manufacturer.
Delete Unnecessary Apps and Files
Another way to keep intruders out is by deleting all unused apps. Many apps have compromised security systems, which might expose users to data security risks. You, therefore, best keep your files clean by deleting them. Furthermore, lesser running apps optimize the functions of a device’s security features.
Unlike websites, mobile apps access more data than independent developers could use to their advantage. For example, an app with access to your microphone and keyboard could study what you mostly talk and text about. If such information is sold to a marketer, they will inject specific ads to your traffic every time you go online, which is simply exasperating.
These are only a few suggestions that work well. For people and businesses with advanced security needs, they should consider using more complex Cybersecurity solutions like Virtual Private Networks or proxies. It is also best to avoid public Wi-Fi networks, as they are a sure loophole for exposing private data.