When the modern world became digital, everything seems easier and more efficient. Gathering information, making connections, and even shopping for your wants and needs can all be done with a simple click. There’s also the risk of data breaches if you do not take precautions. 

Despite its amazing wonders and benefits, technology is not without its drawbacks. Going online will mean you are handing out information to websites and social networking sites without really being aware of it.

For one, your user behavior is closely followed. What you search and what you click are recorded and used by companies to give you irresistible offers. That is the reason why advertisements and product recommendations you are seeing every time you scroll down your newsfeed seem to read your mind.

It is not necessarily a bad thing, but sometimes things can get out of hand. Take what happened back in 2014, when a quiz app by Cambridge Analytica is said to have gathered and leaked the data of nearly 50 million people. It is a fiasco that has lasting repercussions.

Aside from that, there is also the danger of exposing your personal information and financial details to cyber criminals. Social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram store your name, email, phone number, status updates, and other stuff that you share in their system.  Mostly, these details are kept internally and are used to run the service more effectively.

But when a data breach happens, your personal data can get to the hands of individuals who can bleed you dry. Businesses are especially at risk with this and so are consumers who give their payment details when they shop online.

How Major Sites Suffer Data Breach

In 2013, Pinterest’s customer service provider, Zendesk, got hacked, resulting to the leak of thousands of user emails. Thankfully, no passwords were compromised.

LinkedIn has no such luck when the network saw more than 6 million passwords of their users got stolen back in 2012. Four years later, things got worse. Details of 17 million LinkedIn users were put on sale on the Dark Web for around 1,500 pounds.

Some data breaches happen because of unencrypted data. There was the case WhatsApp, for example, when their location data was rendered vulnerable by a rogue access point or man-in-the-middle attacks that. It was discovered by a cyber forensics research and education group from the University of New Haven in 2014.

What You Need to Do

As an individual, your online safety starts in yourself and bear in mind that 95% of data breaches have been caused by human errors. Companies do all they can to safeguard your important information and data but there are ways for cyber criminals to bypass the system. Some of them go through you.

To give you an idea, your login information can be easily infiltrated through phishing or malware scams. Some attacks get more sophisticated each day, with cyber criminals posing as legit companies and send an email that dupes victims into clicking. It can reroute them into a page that requires their passwords. Some can also be held hostage by ransomwares, asking for outrageous amount of money from gullible victims.

The first step to take to protect yourself from cyber threats is to secure your password. Avoid, at all cost, to share your password with anyone. Using a strong password that is a combination of uppercase, lowercase, numbers, and symbols will make it harder to hack as well. And most importantly, you need to make sure to change your password regularly.

When you reset your password, it is safer to ask for a verification code through text or email. Running anti-virus software on your computer and blocking installation from unknown sources is also important.

Constant vigilance is required. Being aware about the risks in going online is a start. Now ensure your safety and protection by taking basic precautionary measures to avoid data breaches. Online safety is important. It is time for you to take it seriously.

Running anti-virus software on your computer and blocking installation from unknown sources is also important. You can check several websites online to check reviews on Windows Defender vs Avast and choose the best antivirus.

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