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From Facebook-Cambridge Analytica’s fiasco to Google, 2018 has been a year of data breaches. The constant fear of losing our personal to hackers is haunting all of us and mind you, the data breach attempts are only going to increase as we get more digitally savvy.
If this hasn’t got you worried, then just imagine your email id is a doorway to a host of services you use which also includes your financial data your banking account, your credit card details and we can go on and on talking about this.
While you can continue to grumble about the big tech firms and other technology companies’ data security policies, safeguarding your information is a shared responsibility between you and the platforms.
So roll up your sleeves, and continue to read while we tell how you can safeguard your personal data in this era of breaches:
Do you know one of the most common passwords in the world is ‘password1234’? Don’t believe us? Look it up.
Your password needs to be strong and personal enough that not even your partner or best friend could crack it.
Our advice to you is use a combination of large and small cap alphabets, special character tagged along with information personal to you.
So say, for example, you were born in a Hinduja Hospital your password could be ‘I was born in Hinduja Hospital’ but as an acronym such as ‘!wB!Hh’ and add an important year in your life to this combination. You can play along and save them on a digital password locker which will help you remember them.
Having said, we also tend to use one password for all the services. Is there one key that helps you open all your locks? No, right?
Pankit Desai, Co-founder CEO, Sequretek shares that if you break it category wise, an e-commerce site may see more attacks or a banking app but the likelihood of the data leakage is from the one with weaker defence.
“If the data breach happens on one site, your info which is username and password is common, the hackers can use the same and attack you on other platforms in an attempt to steal your personal info to commit frauds,” he pointed out.
Additionally, opt for two-step verification while signing in from new devices. This will layer you up against a potential attack.
# Mobile Number
Almost every e-registration process requires us to share our mobile number and email id for e-verification.
Mandar Agashe, Founder and Vice-Chairman, Sarvatra Technologies advice us to use our email ids instead of our mobile numbers to access one time passwords (OTPs).
This, he believes, will secure us with at least layers of digital protection and hence, better security.
How many of us have an uncle or aunt in Africa who is willing to share his/her fortune with us? We would love this, but the reality is otherwise!
Desai says this may look like the simplest thing to understand but it is one the largest and most successful way to targeting innocent users. Hence, don’t go around sharing your info on emails which are promising you free gifts, million dollar lotteries or just asking for playing a quiz with them.
“Always make an effort to find the source of the email to know if it is real or fake. In one of our internal surveys, we sent out a phishing emails to a pool of people in an organisation, the results shocked the company, as 25 per cent of the people clicked on the malicious link while 11per cent replied to the mail in order to get their free gift,” he noted.
#Update Your OS
Golden rule no matter what, keep updating your phones operating system (OS).
Despite possibly being time-consuming and bothersome, Farrhad Acidwalla, founder, Rockstah Media and CYBERNETIV DIGITAL says these updates are indispensable to our day-to-day security. Developers and manufacturers are constantly pushing out patches to known and recently discovered vulnerabilities.
“Recently, a widespread Bluetooth vulnerability made headlines and affected manufacturers rushed out to put out a fix. However, if you were one of those affected and aren't on the latest operating system, you could be at risk of having your teenage neighbour read the communication between your devices,” he advised while adding a side tip, “Keep your Bluetooth off when not in use.”
Whenever you download a new app, it will ask your permission to access data on your phone, mainly your messages, contacts, gallery, etc.
Don’t just blindly accept it. Use your brains and understand - does the app really requires access to your data to function?
“These are very critical and personal details on our mobile phones and offering easy access to these details may lead to illegal usage of our data. It is always advisable to put off or disable access to these details in the apps and mobile phone settings. This will help us become more secure in terms of data usage,” Agashe suggested.
#Social Media Footprint
Are you into a habit to check-in every time you go out eat or share location every time you upload a picture? Well, chances are using the same data to profile you.
“Reduce your social media footprint or share it with a restricted audience. You can change the same in the settings of your account. It's a simple and yet an effective way to protect yourself to an extent,” Desai added.
Also, read the security and privacy policies of the portals you use. At least, you will know what you are signing up for.
Love your coffee and free Wi-Fi? Well, think again.
A lot of people don’t understand how free Wi-Fi’s works and a lot of us weigh inconvenience versus security consciousness.
Acidwalla says, “Public Wi-Fi's have been perceived to be a hotspot for potential cyberattack as ordinary free public Wi-Fi's may not adopt the prevailing standards and encryption allowing malicious agents to access users’ devices.