Protecting Data Online in the New Normal
The Covid-19 pandemic has undeniably taken a toll on everyone’s daily activities and long term plans. Through the implementation of periodic quarantines, economic damage among countries has been mitigated by reducing disease transmission. However, there had been a trade off.
Reports show that cyberattacks have risen 600% as a result of the pandemic! Therefore, protecting data online could not be more overemphasized in the “new normal” we are in. And although a large portion of this statistics is from data breaches among business organizations, private individuals should not be complacent.
Here are some simple ways on how to improve your data security:
Know your status
You can only take appropriate steps in improving your system if you know whether or not any of your data has been compromised. A simple method is by keying in your email or phone number on a data breach detector engine such as Have I Been Pwned?
This site will give you a diagnosis if your personal data has been subjected on past data breaches, mainly from apps, websites, or programs you sign in or access.
Take time to read privacy policies
Taking appropriate actions in protecting data online necessitates knowledge on how and why your data can be utilized. Verily, these information can be found on the privacy policies. Reading these statements should remind you that there may be several companies which are using your data in ways you might not willingly consent to.
Pay attention to passwords
Passwords are your frontliners in cybersecurity. If you are using the same version of the same password across your accounts, it is like having 1 soldier to guard your whole flank.
A study back in 2019 reveals that about 75% of users have the same password for every account. But nowadays, most of us can admit that this is not a great idea. However, this is not reflective of user behavior as another study found out that although 91% of users online know that reusing a password is a bad idea, 61% still do it anyway.
Consider investing in a password manager especially if you have multiple accounts, both personal and business. A password manager is a software that creates unique secure passwords for all your accounts and stores them in one place. This eliminates the need for you to track numerous complicated passwords.
Beware of phishing scams
Recent data shows that phishing scam is still the most rampant cybersecurity threat in the new normal. This has been tied up to the frequency of cyberattacks rising significantly, more than doubling from 2019 to 2021 with 214,324 reported attacks.
In simple definition, phishing scam is a method used by criminals to fraudulently obtain your private personal data and/or banking information. It involves the use of an email or a text message that is posed to come from a legitimate party such as bank, insurance, or phone company, with the goal of soliciting personal data and exploiting such.
As these scams continue to be more and more sophisticated and well-crafted, protecting data online has been quite a challenge. That’s why it can be prudent to always approach unsolicited messages with the right amount of skepticism.
Public Wi-Fi can be dangerous
While cafes can be a good place to do some remote work, it is advised that you avoid using their wi-fi, or any public wi-fi for that matter. This open-access makes it extremely easier for hackers to access your devices and exploit your personal data.
The best remedy is to create a hotspot with your phone by using your cellular data. If the Wi-fi of the establishment is password protected, you may also connect, but do so with caution.
If you really have to connect to a public Wi-Fi, refrain from logging onto any website or app that contains your sensitive information such as banking and medical records.
To add another layer of protection, consider using a VPN to further protect your privacy while online. A Virtual Private Network will create just that, a private work connection that masks your IP address and makes it untraceable.
These are just few ways on how you can buff your security online. New circumstances such as remote working could easily entail trade-offs with our privacy and data security. Only when you have sufficient awareness and information could you ensure the safety of your sensitive private data and afford a clear peace of mind.
Also Read: The Top 4W’s of Ethical Hacking
A DPO can help
An outsourced Data Protection Officer (DPO) oversees data protection responsibilities and ensures that organizations comply with the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA). Furthermore, every organization’s DPO should be able to curb any instances of data breaches as it is the officer responsible for maintaining the positive posture of an organization’s cybersecurity.
DPOs complement the efforts of organizations in making sure that the organisation’s email environment is safe from any threat actor who wants to infiltrate its servers and system in general. It also ensures that policies are set in place and employees are well aware of the danger that may arise in this new normal that everyone is still adjusting to.