You know when Valentine’s Day is, and on which day Friendship Day falls, but do you know the day in which we celebrate Data Privacy Day?
If your reply is, “Huh? What’s that?” don’t worry, you are not alone. There are many others who don’t have a clear picture about this.
What is Data Privacy Day?
As we move towards a connected future, we are generating a vast amount of data online. It could range from our personal details to our bank account details and even our likes and dislikes. With so much information available about us in the virtual world, can you imagine what a field day cyber criminals would have if they could gain access to it?
January 28th is celebrated as Data Privacy Day, to create public awareness about the need for keeping data private as well as to empower them on data protection best practices.
To give you an example, post an online search, say for a weekend destination or even a new car, you might have noted similar ads springing up on your page long after you have stopped searching for them. Which means a third party has got hold of your likes and is directing similar ads your way. Or, when you download an app on your mobile, you will find that it may ask for access to your gallery, clock and even contact lists. Websites send cookies embedded in their codes to help you, but these also store the information you share. You have no way of knowing how this information is being used.
Data Privacy Day is celebrated to help consumers:
- Manage their digital footprint
- Encourage safe online practices
- Raise awareness and educate about the need for data privacy.
Some of the threats associated with privacy breach:
- Identity theft: Cyber criminals may be able to collect enough data about you to create a false profile that maybe misused
- Financial loss: If your password and secret questions become accessible to others or if your smartphone falls in the wrong hands, hackers may be able to clear out your account
- Cyberbullying: Sharing of inappropriate or embarrassing photos and videos may attract online bullies
- Social media hacking: If your social media account is hacked, it can harm your personal life and reputation.
- Ransomware: Cyber criminals may hold your data or device hostage to extort monetary benefits
To empower yourself to take charge of your privacy this Data Privacy Day, you need to:
- Secure your devices: This is the first thing you should do with a new device and ensure you keep auto updates turned on
- Be wary of apps that ask for a lot of permissions: A stop watch has no need for your contact list, nor an editing app for your social media profiles. Share with care. Also, delete apps you do not use anymore.
- Beware of fake sites, fake offers and fake wins: These are phishing attacks, targeted at getting your data. Keep in mind (1) if you didn’t take part in a contest, you can’t win it (2) There is no such thing as easy money.
- Manage your digital footprints: Give your generosity a check when it comes to data. Do not share phone number, address, school/work location in your profile description. Also, clean your social media profiles from time to time – remove pics and posts that reveal a lot about you.
- Stay clear of fake sites by using McAfee WebAdvisor: This amazing tool guides you on website safety and warns you if a site looks suspicious. A great help that protects you from probable phishing and other attacks.
In an increasingly interconnected world, our personal data is a prized possession for many and they make constant attempts to collect it from us. We need to be vigilant of the approvals we grant devices/apps and give them sparingly. Privacy and safety go hand in hand, let us pledge to take charge and follow best practices to keep us and our families safe this Data Privacy Day.
About the Author