Sharing information on social media, making a purchase on e-commerce sites and other activities we do online come with the risk of having our private accounts hacked or using our information for illegal activities.
With all these tools and emerging technologies, it is now easier for individuals, corporations and even the government to spy on our daily activities or collect our personal information.
Risks to Privacy
1. Spywares and Malwares: These are offline applications that collect and send previously accessed data to a spyware source. Malwares infect and damage computers through viruses and Trojans.
2. Phishing: Hackers steal information and financial details like credit card and bank account information, security PIN or passwords to other accounts.
3. Pharming: This happens when users are redirected to a site with a different IP address from the legitimate site.
4. Identity Theft: Vicious people need only to go on social media sites to be able to search users, collect their information, and use them for their personal agenda.
5. Piracy and other illegal activities: The government and legal authorities usually monitor sites that violate the copyright and privacy laws like torrent sites. They can trace the IP addresses of users who connect to these sites to download media, and those who commit any other fraudulent acts and illegal activities.
6. Information collected by corporation and other business entities: Oftentimes, corporations are able to collect information and use them to their advantage. They based their business decisions by the data collected to be able to gain more profit. They also have the capacity to sell information to the highest bidder.
Ways to Protect Your Private Information
1. Always check the legitimacy and security of the site before you provide your financial information to make a purchase. Some sites look like the original and only phishing/pharming for information from users or visitors.
2. Practice responsible use of social media and other networking sites. These sites were created to keep friends and family in contact no matter where they are in the world. However, it only takes a few clicks to abuse this privilege. Sometimes, information is used to defame other people by spreading malign issues or editing pictures and videos to damage the morale of other people. Do not over share, and set your account’s security preferences to limit what other people can see or share. Remember, you can never completely delete information once they are shared.
3. Use firewall or softwares that can prevent malwares and viruses from infecting your computer. Hackers use malwares to be able to download information from one’s computer and use them for personal gains.
4. It is also best to consistently clear your browsing cache and history. Websites collect information from users of their site through cookies.
5. Do not share your passwords to anyone. Change your passwords regularly and use strong ones by adding numerals and special characters. Once your passwords are compromised, contact the site administrators or authorities to avoid any illegal use of your information.