Top threats to your personal data on the internet


We are all living in a world where a lot of our personal information is accessible online with or without any security. Do you need to be worried about the safety of your personal data? Read more.

When you leave your home or apartment, do you leave the door open? Of course, you don't. But many people don't apply the same security standards to their personal data. In an age of rampant identity theft and other forms of online crime, this complacency can be disastrous, leading to traumatic experiences and financial losses.

Fortunately, learning how to protect personal information online isn't much more complex than locking your door and closing your windows.

However, before you can truly feel safe, it helps to know what kind of threats are out there. So we've put together a guide to the biggest digital dangers confronting our personal danger. Take note of how they work, and stay vigilant. Anyone of these threats could harm your online safety in an instant.

1. Fake websites


Phishers make a living through deception, and encouraging targets to take unwise decisions, such as clicking on links to fake websites is their most important tactic.

Fake sites could look just like real-world eCommerce stores and have payment fields, comment boxes, even instant chat facilities. But they are solely set up to harvest personal data such as payment details and home addresses.

These fake sites can be extremely varied. For instance, scammers have been known the set up fraudulent charity pages, enticing good-hearted victims to make credit card donations. And they have also been known to post fake job listings - again with the intention of drawing people into providing useful information.

This is a humiliating experience (as well as being financially costly), so try to be careful when clicking on links from emails, or buying online. If anything doesn't seem right, head elsewhere.

2. Corporate data leaks


The past couple of years have seen some massive data breaches, both from private corporations and public bodies. For example, in 2018 alone Facebook "lost" 50 million records, while a 2013 attack on Yahoo compromised an almost unimaginable 3 billion user accounts.

What can you do to protect yourself against these leaks? Well, paying anonymously with cryptocurrency might help, and only choosing reliable places to shop or register. But this one's on the companies involved. As a consumer, you can punish them by taking your business elsewhere - and that might supply the pressure needed to make these lazy organizations shape up.

3. Man-in-the-Middle attacks


Man-in-the-Middle attacks are pretty self-explanatory. Hackers simply impose themselves between websites and users, tapping into the flow of data, and harvesting personal data like social media passwords or credit card numbers.

This kind of attack tends to be associated with poor network security, particularly on unsecured public wifi networks. So be very careful about what you type and send when using the internet at coffee shops, museums, or transport providers. You never know when a cybercriminal could be lurking, ready to steal your information.

And if you do need to use public wifi extensively, be sure to install a VPN (Virtual Private Network). These simple tools create encrypted "tunnels" between your phone or laptop and whatever sites you visit. That way, your traffic is much less easy to hijack and interpret, radically reducing the risk of man-in-the-middle attacks.

4. Poor password security


Protecting your personal data with a good VPN is no use without strong password security. Whether we like it or not, the vast majority of services we use online rely on entering passwords - and this can sometimes be a huge security vulnerability.

For instance, if hackers get hold of your password for one service, and you've used the same code (or something very similar) for every other service you use - they will almost certainly access all of them. Most people are lax when it comes to passwords, and attackers know this.

Because of this, it's essential to use a variety of unrelated passwords, which are deemed "strong" (ie very hard to guess). Avoid terms that are closely related to your everyday life such as your name or favourite sports team. And, if possible, use a password manager like Dashlane to help coordinate the sites you use.

5. Malware


Malware is our final major personal data threat, and it's one of the most sinister. There are many different types to consider, but in terms of personal data theft, the ones to worry about are probably trojan, spyware and rootkits.

These forms of malware can be delivered via email attachments, P2P downloads, rogue apps, or web pop-ups. And when they are settled into your system, they can track your online activity and send data straight to cyber attackers. So you definitely don't want to get to that stage.

If you want to avoid a catastrophic malware infestation, it's vital to keep your antivirus software up to date (and possibly have an antimalware package installed as well). And using a VPN can make spyware much less effective if you are unlucky.

Stay aware of threats and solutions to beat personal data thieves

Personal data is both more important and more vulnerable than ever. We spend so much money in ecommerce sites and other online channels, give away personal details, and open our souls to strangers - and rarely seem to think about the implications of our data being misused.

Knowing about the threats we've talked about can help. And be sure to implement solutions like VPN packages, strong passwords, and antivirus updates. That way, you should limit your exposure to data theft.


Article by Tony John
Tony John is a professional blogger from India, who started his first Weblog in 1998 at Tripod.com. Tony switched to blogging as a passion blended business in the year 2000 and currently operates several popular web properties including IndiaStudyChannel.com, Techulator.com, dotnetspider.com and many more.

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Comments

Guest Author: Michelle15 Feb 2019

Online hygiene is very important these days, I'm using Privacy Badger, LastPass password manager, and Surfshark. It became a habit for me to turn on a VPN when I'm on public wi-fi or doing any financial operations online. I read a lot about how VPN encryption protects against various hack attacks am pretty happy with my investment at the moment.

Author: Umesh18 Feb 2019 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 4

An exhaustive and useful article about the threats of the internet in today's environment.

We must take care to install anti-virus and other safeguarding apps in our computers and should limit our surfing to the reputed and safer sites. Time to time the sites will ask questions for permitting them to send some cookies or things like that to our computer or mobile device. Never agree to these propositions.

Working safely will be tomorrow's big challenge in the internet area and the future confrontation will be mainly for fighting for privacy.

So we have to learn the techniques and tricks of protecting ourselves if we want to surf safely in this environment.

We must remember that the hackers and other miscreants are equally knowledgeable and intelligent as our IT professionals and this fight is between the equal enemies.



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