Protect Your Online Privacy in 2021

Loss of privacy is major concern. A study by Javelin found that about 1 in 20 Americans were affected by ID fraud in 2019, with the losses rising to $16.9 billion. Here is everything you need to know to reduce your chances of becoming a victim.

VPN


VPN Software creates a secure connection between the user and the Internet. All the personal data you share through a VPN is dispatched via an encrypted tunnel. This hides your actual IP address when you access the Internet, making your location invisible to your Internet Service Provider and everyone else. VPN connections are secure against all external attacks. This is why it’s an excellent tool for those looking to protect online privacy.

Antivirus


Antivirus software protects your computer or mobile device against cybercriminals and malware. Antivirus program looks at all data – applications, software, and files, web pages – traveling through the network to your computer. It searches for all known threats and closely monitors the behavior of all software, flagging suspicious behavior. The best antivirus software blocks suspected malicious URLs and warn you against visiting them. This helps protect you from phishing attempts.

Identity Theft


ID theft protection services monitor databases and websites for any signs of your personal data such as bank account numbers, medical ID, driver’s license number, and social security number.You’ll receive a notification if your personal information appears on various websites, including check cashing requests, payday loan applications, orders for new cable services, arrest or court records, USPS address change requests, social media, and dark web. Protect your identity and resolve the issue.

Convenience Over Privacy?

Because of the latest technological advancements, most of the current laws related to online privacy are outdated or entirely inapplicable. Digital technology connects users to the Internet, often transmitting information about their health, tastes, habits, and behaviors. With our lives intertwined with online platforms, apps, and digital technology, it’s nearly impossible to opt-out altogether. Allowing digital devices to collect our data seems like an inevitable trade-off in virtual interaction to the extent that it costs our online privacy, making us targets of personalized advertisement, identity thefts, and cyberattacks.

Today, Internet users are hungry for content but don’t want to lose privacy. While many people might have a lax attitude towards cybersecurity, most of them still expect companies to carefully protect their personal information and handle it in a transparent, ethical, and safe way. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.

How Businesses Are Collecting Data?

Data is currently one of the most valuable resources thanks to the fast digital transformation of industries worldwide. In today’s technological area, user data is the new crude oil, which gives immense economic power to companies that generate and control it. It’s for this reason why reputed organizations collect, store and monetize customer data. Let’s take a closer look at some of the ways through which companies collect customer data and what they do with this data.

In essence, there are three ways through which companies collect user data. Asking for it – some companies directly ask customers to share their personal information when they buy something, register with a site or subscribe to their services; Web beacons, cookies, and websites; Social media and company records – firms dig deeper into their sales records and customer service to find out more about customers’ transaction histories.

Data Privacy Regulations

With user data, businesses can refine marketing strategies, conduct hyper-targeted marketing, create new revenue streams and even improve customer experiences by selling data to data companies. Of course, there are data privacy regulations like the California Privacy Act (CCPA) and the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that any company collecting customer data must adhere to.

The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) is the most comprehensive data privacy legislation passed to date, enacted on 28th June 2018, and effect on 1st January 2020. It’s a cross-sector regulation that introduces exclusive individual consumer rights and important definitions and imposes crucial duties on persons and entities that collect personal details from a California resident. The responsibilities include informing the subjects on how and when the data is collected, allowing them to delete, correct and access such information.

On the other hand, the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is the most important data protection law passed to date. It controls the collection, security, use, and transmission of data collected from any country member of the European Union.


What Personal Data is Exposed?

Most businesses collect personal data for different purposes. From predictive analytics to consumer behavior, companies often collect, store and analyze qualitative and quantitative data on their customer base. In essence, some companies have created their business model around user data; whether they are using it to create targeted ads or sell it to third parties, digital data is big business.Here’s a look at the personal data that’s exposed if you lose privacy. Personal data includes information that can be used to identify you, including full name and social security numbers, as well as non-identifiable information like

  • device IDs,
  • web browser cookies,
  • IP addresses.

Unfortunately, such personal data can fall into the wrong hands. Hackers steal sensitive data hoping to make a profit. Based on the type of business the victim is in, there are different types of data that can be stolen. However, most online hackers aim at stealing contact numbers, physical addresses, email addresses, social security numbers, addresses, bank account details, and names. The data is then sold, and identity thieves get paid depending on the type of data they have sold. Research by Experian showed that the cheapest personal data for sale are non-financial institution logins and social security numbers, which are $1.


How to Protect Yourself?

Identity theft has become very rampant, and cybercriminals can strike at any time, so it’s vital to avoid taking the security of your personal and financial information for granted. As you take crucial steps to protect your identity and personal information, you will make yourself a difficult target for identity thieves. Besides the best identity theft protection service, you can also take advantage of security tools like VPN for guaranteed privacy and antivirus for optimum protection against online threats. Still concerned about your privacy? Check our article about 10 Free Ways to protect online privacy to find out more.