5 reasons to protect your data online

The personal data we share every day on the internet is very important and if it gets into the wrong hands it risks exposing us to danger

Now more than ever, in light of the constant cyber breaches, we need to pay attention to our personal data. Information that we freely share online every day, without even realizing it and without asking for any explanation. We accept it and move on.

An example may serve to clarify the concept. Let's consider apps. They provide us with a service, most of the time for free, and in return they accumulate thousands of data. How many people read the terms of service that explain how this information will be used? Few. As many experts say, users' personal data are the new oil and for many web giants, think of Google for example, they are worth billions of dollars. It's the price we agree to pay to use their services. And without spending a penny. And that's not all. A part of our data, also for our fault, risks to finish in wrong hands. And that's where the problems start.

Identity theft

Identity theft is one of the main reasons why it's important to learn how to protect your personal data. Hackers use a variety of tactics, some very simple, to get their hands on a lot of our confidential information. One such tactic is phishing, through which hackers try to trick us into entering our personal information, such as passwords and financial information, on specially created fake sites. The risks, as you can easily guess, are very high. The stolen information could be used to drain our bank account, or to create an account in our name. The advice, therefore, is to limit the amount of information shared online, and also avoid opening suspicious links and emails.

Sextortion and Revenge Porn

Sharing personal data superficially means exposing yourself to many other dangers. In addition to identity theft, information can also be used to extort money from you. Especially if the data are very sensitive. Let's think about sextortion, a technique with which cybercriminals lure a person on the web, make them send a risqué photo and threaten to publish it if the victim doesn't pay. Without forgetting revenge porn, which consists in publishing intimate images of the ex-partner or girlfriend for revenge. And then, beware of all the connected objects in the house, such as webcams, which could be used to capture images of our intimacy.

Loss of control

There is another element that should make us think about the importance of protecting personal data. Once we share sensitive information online we almost always lose control of it. We cannot know, for example, how the phone number we have entered in an application, or the email shared with a site, could be used. Think of the traces we leave on the internet every day that are used to "tailor" advertisements to us. So it's important to remember to be careful with the information you share.

Caution to Terms of Use

As we all know, some applications are able to track your location, access your phone and image gallery, learn your mobile number and capture a lot of other personal information. It is we who, by agreeing to the terms of use, allow apps to enter our privacy. If we didn't, we wouldn't be able to use the services they offer us. The problem is that these apps can be attacked, "handing over" our personal data to hackers. Also, it would be good to be careful about who we entrust our personal data to. There are several apps that have used information captured from users for other purposes.

Iot Objects

We close with one last warning. The always-connected objects of the Internet of Things represent the future. We will be increasingly surrounded by smart devices that can network. These devices collect a lot of personal information, some of it very sensitive, considering they also have a camera and microphone. IP cameras and Smart TVs, for example, have repeatedly been hacked to spy on users.