We spend too much time on the internet, interacting with different online companies that it becomes difficult to know which company still holds our data. The trail of data and information we live behind is lucrative to online companies. Companies want to collect and use such data to craft personalized digital marketing campaigns. The whole aspect of user data collection by companies has become so popular that some people see it as the new normal. A 2020 survey conducted by Statista reveals that 77% of companies in the U.S collect personal user data.
However, in today’s world, where data breaches and identity thefts are the order of the day, it is wise to remain vigilant about who collects your data and what type of data they collect. Yes, you might have nothing to hide, but the last thing you want to see is your sensitive data held by malicious hands. This article will highlight some tips and methods of protecting data online. Before we delve further, let us briefly look at some types of data companies will be looking to collect from your end.
Types of Data Online Companies Want To Protect
Billions of data are floating in different companies’ logs and cloud storage systems. The following are the user data companies want to get hold of.
- Personal Data
This is data directly associated with the owner. It includes personally identifiable information, such as your name, credit card numbers, social security numbers, passport information, physical address, etc. This is the most sought data type for online marketers and attackers.
- Engagement Data
Consists of elements of user engagement with a service, product, or website. It includes the number of call-to-action buttons, page visits, ticket history, frequently visited pages, etc.
- Behavioral Data
This is data detailing the behaviour of consumers as they interact with a specific company. It might include the number of product page visits and the financial information used.
- Attitudinal Data
This is data that shows the consumers’ reactions towards the services and products of the company. It includes things like user reviews number of positive and negative reviews.
Proven Tips and Tricks to Protect Your Data Online
How To Protect My Data From Hackers and Unauthorized Companies? The answer is whereas companies might want to collect your personal information in good faith, opening doors for them also invites a host of security threats to your data. In the end, you lose sensitive data to attackers who use it for malicious purposes. The good news is that there are ways to protect your personal data from landing in unsafe and unauthorized hands. This section explains how to protect personal information online.
1 : Interact With Websites that Have SSL Certifications
Hackers lay all forms of tricks and infrastructures to try and intercept your data as it moves from your end to the website servers. There has been a surge in the cases of man-in-the-middle attacks. To ensure that your data is not intercepted as it transmits from your end to the servers’ end, you must ensure to communicate with HTTPS websites. HTTPS websites have SSL certification to allow encrypted sessions as you interact with other websites. You must avoid HTTP websites since they can easily jeopardize your data. Furthermore, with excellent and cheap or pocket-friendly SSL certificate options such as Thawte SSL , RapidSSL , Comodo SSL etc.. will help you to secure your website. All these SSL certs are from reputed CA and offer strong encryption.
2: Use Antitracking and Ads-Blocking Tools
Ad-blocking and anti-tracking tools are the second excellent method of protecting your data online. Several desktops and mobile anti-tracking extensions will do the job for you. Extensions such as Privacy Badger, Adblock Plus, Ghostery, and Disconnect will block websites and companies from collecting your information without your consent. These downloadable extensions will block ads from loading on your web pages. They will also identify third parties that track your information and block them from doing so. All blocked third parties will not be allowed to collect your data.
3: Avoid Using Search Engines that Allow Parties to Track You
Sometimes search engines might be the culprit that collects your data and avail it for public view. Google is a perfect example of a search engine that collects so much user data. To be safe, avoid using such search engines. Instead, go for search engines such as DuckDuckGo and StartPage, which do not save user information.
4: Use A Virtual Private Network
Using a virtual private network, especially when accessing the internet via a public network, is vital. VPNs help to keep all information you share private and anonymous. It creates an encryption tunnel and redirects your connection through another virtual network. In doing so, virtual private networks protect intruders and websites from collecting your sensitive data, such as IP addresses and geographic locations. Intruders who access such information might use it to build their digital fingerprints. To prevent that, ensure you use a private network, especially on public WiFis.
5: Set Your Social Media Profiles to Private
We all agree that we are in the age of social media, and avoiding the urge to stay on social media is almost impossible. We share many details on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and Instagram. We have our names, locations, upcoming events, and many other things on social media. Whereas sharing such information on social media gives us a sense of fulfilment, it also has security implications. Companies can collect such information and use it to create personalized marketing strategies. Similarly, hackers can use such information to craft more customized phishing scams. The best strategy is to limit who can see our social media profiles.
Most social media platforms have settings that allow users to hide their profiles or limit who can see the profiles. As a best practice, ensure you use such settings. It is also best to avoid sharing your social media profiles with unknown websites.
7: Be on the Lookout for Phishing Scams
Phishing scams are so common these days. While some websites might collect data in good faith, some will craft phishing scams to trick unsuspecting users into sharing their sensitive data. You must be on the lookout for such phishing scams. Usually, phishing messages contain a sense of urgency. Before clicking on a link or downloading an attachment, take time to verify its authenticity and the authenticity of its source. Avoid links and attachments that require too much sensitive personal data, as they might be phishing scams.
Companies want your personal information to use for many purposes. They will use the data even for email marketing campaigns. Similarly, attackers want to get hold of the same information for identity theft and other malicious reasons. You must say no to such unnecessary data collections. Several strategies will help protect your data from hackers and online companies. This article has explained seven strategies that will do the task for you.