Protect Your Internet Privacy

The fundamentals of data privacy protection are in constant need of re-thinking. There is no silver bullet, where one single thing will guard you and your personal information from all the risks that lurk online. Think about protecting your internet privacy in layers, the more steps required to capture your assets, the more protected your online privacy becomes. Laws and technology can change quickly, and portions of your internet privacy strategy can become out of date within frequent reviews. Knowledge is power, the more you begin to understand what digital surveillance is and how your personal information is collected online, the better you begin to understand how you can fight it.

This will not come as a surprise to most people, but interest privacy is hard, really hard. Daily reports of newly hacked databases, platforms, retailers and trusted service providers see the constant barrage of black hats, hackers and less than scrupulous state sponsored bad actors all after your information. The larger and more complex the systems, the more engaged you are online with your data, the more difficult it is to plug all the security holes and make them secure and trustworthy. It is up to each of us to establish a comfort level for personal online privacy and how much data we are willing or not willing to freely share.

Internet Privacy Is Under Attack

personal online privacyThe daily headlines on internet privacy breeches shows us that the risks of weak digital security are all around us. We’ve heard about phishing attacks by foreign governments aimed at undermining our democracy and ransomware attacks on hospitals. We’ve seen nation-state level attacks on corporations like Sony and on sensitive government employee databases like the one maintained by the federal Office of Personnel Management. Corporate data breaches like the ones suffered by Equifax, Target and Marriott have affected tens of millions of users. Countless others have suffered from identity theft, malware, and more recently, spouseware—malware used by domestic abusers. Meanwhile, we’ve seen more research proving how easy it is to break into many U.S. voting systems. The attacks and undermining strategies are different in each of these, but the underlying problem is the same: Our digital systems are not secure enough, and our current security techniques are not up to the task. So what can you do to protect yourself, your online privacy, and your most vital data?

Improve Your Online Privacy With Better Security Protocols

Your personal online data has become the most prized commodity of the digital age, traded on a vast scale by some of the most powerful companies in Silicon Valley and beyond. In many cases, your very information is the product that platforms monetize freely without regard to how that information may be shared or used. As the recently revealed Facebook debacle with Cambridge Analytica continues to show, and internal documents indicate the social network gave Microsoft, Amazon, Spotify and others far greater access to people’s data than it has disclosed, even under oath to Congress. It’s time to takes some steps to take back some control to enhance your internet privacy.

Conduct a threat model assessment. Think about what information you have shared and the types of protection you want for that data.What are the potential threats you are going to take seriously? There is not enough time or tools to reasonably protect everything, it’s impossible to guard against every kind of attack or adversary. Start with the most important data points and work with that. The list of possible threats you plan to protect against is called threat modeling.

Internet Privacy – Assess Your Personal Risk

If you’ve ever worried about protecting your online privacy, your digital data or your conversations with others, here are some things to consider and questions to answer for your personal privacy profile.

  • The value of using a personal Virtual Private Network(VPN).
  • What is Metadata and why Metadata Matters.
  • Password security — using password managers to stay safe online.
  • Creating Strong Passwords – what are the best practices for password protection.
  • Should you enable two-factor authentication — (of course, yes)!
  • What should you know about encryption — how strong encryption can help protect online privacy.
  • Protecting Your Mobile Device From Hackers.
  • Anti-Spam, Anti-Phishing and Malware protection software.
  • The risks of unsecured public WiFi hotspots.
  • The best ways to delete your data securely on Windows, Linux or macOS.
  • App security — what do they really know about you?
  • How secure is your online storage? Dropbox, Box, OneDrive, Google Drive and iCloud.
  • What your ISP knows about you — how DNS impacts your internet privacy.
  • How often do you review your online privacy self defense methods and security tools?

The fundamentals of data privacy protection are in constant need of re-thinking. There is no silver bullet, where on single thing will guard you and your personal information from all the risks that lurk online. Think about protecting your internet privacy in layers, the more steps required to capture your assets, the more protected your online privacy becomes. Laws and technology can change quickly, and portions of your internet privacy strategy can become out of date within frequent reviews. Knowledge is power, the more you begin to understand what digital surveillance is and how your personal information is collected online, the better you begin to understand how you can fight it.

Scott

Founder | CEO at Cliqscout LLC
Scott

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