Created as a sample for Pepper Content’s Deep Tech section, including ML, AI, Data Science, Crypto, and Cyber Security, this article sums up the urgency of data protection in the world of digitalization. The writer with experience of writing for leading tech brands provides meaningful insights and tips.
With the rise in new technologies and applications, digital products have deeply penetrated our daily lives. With this permeability, our actions are likely to be monitored and possibly controlled by different technology companies.
This scenario may seem simple to us, but with the flourishing of the Internet among the massive less tech-savvy population, data collection will slowly be categorised as being acceptable, eventually leading to improper use.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been a trending topic since the dawn of this century. Over the years, when there was a major advancement in storage and computing capabilities, especially after cloud computing was introduced, many companies started gathering and making sense of data. Various forms of data across different domains are being collected for research purposes as well.
These analyses are so powerful that they have historically helped large companies to make important decisions and even depend heavily on them for their revenue. Take Google or Facebook, for example – a major chunk of their total revenue comes from targeted ads that are optimised using user data for better conversion rate. Apart from this, a large number of medical institutes use patients’ data and scans for research purposes that have led to significant breakthroughs in technology.
Why is data protection important?
Some common data points that are collected:
- Email ids
- Telephone numbers
- Bank and credit card details
- Health information
‘Data leaks’ is not a new term in today’s world. There are thousands of hackers/security experts working worldwide in a quest to breach the security barriers of large and important databases. Whenever a breach happens, the user base’s personal details are thrown open to the world. This may lead to various problems for users, including credit card scams, phishing, etc. Apart from this, even in the best-case scenario, a user’s privacy always remains at stake.
Some unethical businesses and institutions crave users’ contact information like email addresses, phone numbers, etc. This information is used to spam and promote their products/services to users even if they haven’t voluntarily opted for this.
Our critical information can also be used to gain the trust required for any user falling into the trap of a scam. From credit card information to health records, scammers have identified ways to use this information as a tool to break the barriers of suspicion. Apart from this, a lot of people also fall prey to phishing. This happens when a user is exposed to a webpage identical to a famous webpage that is used to collect important information. Unaware of the fact that it is not the original webpage, the user tends to enter critical information that is later accessed by a scammer.
It is common for most users to have common passwords and email addresses for different websites and apps. Apart from this, we tend to keep passwords simple enough to be remembered afterwards. Due to this, we become prone to cyberattacks during which our email addresses and passwords may be used to log in to several websites.
How can you protect your data?
There are multiple ways in which users can restrict the misuse of their data. Let us have a look at them one by one.
- Create strong passwords: Having a strong password that is not easily guessable or even crackable by certain algorithms helps a user to curb various cyberattacks.
- Avoid fishy websites: Users should avoid small and unrecognised websites if they ask for any type of data.
- Beware of public WiFis: Usually, unrecognised public WiFis are being monitored by hackers who can track any important information being used by a user while browsing.
- Keep your systems up-to-date: There are new types of attacks and computer viruses that are being developed by hackers around the world. To avoid any new attack, users need to ensure that their systems and security tools are up-to-date.
Encrypt your data: Whether it’s an email address or your credit card information, ensure that you have encrypted every important piece of your private information.