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data privacy

Every day is Data Protection Day

Tuesday, February 5th, 2019

In South Africa, we’re a bit late to the Data Privacy Day party. In Europe, it’s been around since 2007, while The United States joined in 2009. 

“What day?” we hear you ask. According to Wikipedia “Data Privacy Day (known in Europe as Data Protection Day) is an international holiday that occurs every 28 January. The purpose of Data Privacy Day is to raise awareness and promote privacy and data protection best practices. It is currently observed in the United States, Canada, Israel and 47 European countries.”

Even though data Privacy Day has been around for more than ten years, awareness around the protection of data has become more critical over the past year or two. The reason is two-fold. Firstly there has been a surge in data breach incidents across the world, whether it’s Facebook or more recently Google who was fined £44 million fine in France for alleged GDPR breaches. Which brings us to the second reason – the implementation of GDPR last year. Up until then, there was little to force companies to protect users’ data. The GDPR and POPI acts changed this. Now companies are held accountable and can be heavily fined for compromising their clients’ personal information.

Why is data so important, though? According to Mark Barrenechea, CEO at OpenText, “[e]very day we are building, brick by brick and bit by bit, a digital copy of ourselves, whether we are aware of it or not.” A bigger digital footprint makes it easier to find information about you, whether it’s personal information such as usernames and passwords, your physical location or your interests or hobbies. Algorithms can track your actions and anticipate your behaviour. Every little piece of information adds up to a bigger picture and can be used to your disadvantage. 

Sharing data is progressively becoming easier, which makes it critical that you take responsibility for protecting your own data. We can no longer depend on companies or social networks to keep our digital identity safe. This we’ve clearly seen over the past year with multiple data breaches – many including large companies such as Facebook and Google. 

Data Privacy is just one day in the year to make data owners (that’s anyone using a digital platform) aware of the importance of protecting our data. However, we should be aware of the risks every day. How can you protect your data? You already know, you just need to start or continue doing it. www.digitalguardian has an extensive guide for protecting your data, but here are 10 basic tips:

  1. Use encrypted networks when you’re accessing important information. Even though open and free Wi-Fi is tempting, it comes at a risk. If you’re browsing websites which are not https, know that whatever you do can be seen by someone else.
  2. Choose strong passwords. Don’t know how? Here are some tips. The general trend is using two-factor authentication. More tech experts are recommending a password manager as it’s the most secure solution.
  3. Protect your passwords. Don’t write them down. Don’t share them. Don’t use the same password for all your social networks or websites. 
  4. Update your software when it prompts you to. Don’t ignore it because you don’t have time – it might be an important security update.
  5. Update your anti-virus software regularly. New versions of viruses, malware, etc. are released on a daily basis. If you don’t update, you’ll be an easy target. Also, consider an anti-virus for your mobile devices – they are even more vulnerable.
  6. Check and configure privacy settings on your phone. Consider carefully which apps you give access to use certain services on your phone.
  7. Lock your smartphone and tablet devices when you are not using them. Mobile devices are used to access social media, banking services and various other apps – all of which can be abused if gained access to. 
  8. Enable remote location and device-wiping. If your mobile device is stolen, at least someone won’t be able to access your information.
  9. Delete your data from old devices, for example, smartphones, before you sell, discard or pass them onto someone else.
  10. And lastly, back up your data on a regular basis. At least you’ll have access to it even if you lose your device.

Data means power and unless you want to lose that power, you need to protect it.

[SOURCES: https://www.forbes.comhttps://www.techradar.com]

Protect your personal information

Monday, January 29th, 2018

Data Privacy Day, occurring every year on 28 January, is an international effort to empower individuals and business to respect privacy, safeguard data and enable trust. 

Over the past year the world saw many extensive data breaches across the world. This has accentuated the necessity for creating a greater awareness of protecting information. 

But why should we care about our information?

We are entering the next generation of technological advancement like the Internet of Things, which will connect devices in our schools, home and workplaces. This provides many opportunities, but consumers will have to learn to protect and secure their information. Your devices make it easy to connect to the world around you, but they can also track a lot of information about you and your family. 

How much information do you share online daily? We spend most of our day on the internet where all our actions are tracked and collected by the devices we use. This data is stored indefinitely and can be used at any time. 

The National Cyber Security Alliance in the United States have the following tips:

  1. Personal info is like money: value it, protect it. 
    Be thoughtful about who gets your information and how it’s collected through apps and websites. Delete unused apps, update others and review your app permissions.
  2. Share with care.
    Think before posting about yourself and others online. Review your social network friends and contact lists regularly.
  3. Own your online presence.
    Set the privacy and security settings on websites and apps. You can share information with only friends and family.
  4. Lock down your login.
    Make sure your accounts are secure. Don’t use a password only for bank accounts, email and social media. Use two-step authentication, bio-metrics or security keys.
  5. Keep a clean machine.
    Keep your software, operating systems (mobile and PC), anti-virus and apps updated to prevent data loss, infections and malware.
  6. Apply the golden rule. 
    Post only about others as you would have them post about you.
  7. Secure your devices.
    Every device should be secured with a password or strong authentication – finger swipe, facial recognition, etc. Imagine what someone could do with the information on your device if it got lost?
  8. Think before you app.
    Information about you, such as the games you like to play, your contact lists, where you shop and your location has tremendous value. Apps collect this information. A recent example is activity-tracking app, Strava’s privacy issue. 

FACT AND STATISTICS

  • 41% of Americans have been personally subjected to harassing behaviour online and one in five (18%) has been subjected to particularly severe forms of harassment online. 
  • 82% of cyber-stalkers use social media to find out where their potential victims live, where they go to school, etc.
  • Four in five US physicians have had cyber-attacks in their practices. Keep in mind that medical and health information is among the most sensitive and personal information about people. 

 

[SOURCE: https://staysafeonline.org and www.wikipedia.org]

 

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