All You Need to Know about Data Security and How to Protect yourself Online

Data Security in the News for All the Wrong Reasons

The issue of data security has been in the news in recent months. First, there were reports of hacking of computers in the Presidential Election of 2016 where Russian hackers were alleged to have hacked into the computers of the Democratic Party and reveal insider information designed to help Donald Trump, who was the Republican Candidate to win.

Next, in recent weeks, there was much noise about how Facebook had allowed Third Party Apps to access the personal data of its users and thereby compromising on the issue of protecting such data which is the cornerstone of their privacy policy.

Lastly, in India, there was much controversy over how the Governmental flagship Biometric Identification project, Aadhar, and the data associated with it was compromised by sundry individuals. In addition, the news is full of how so and so corporate was hacked and its sensitive data stolen along with reports of individuals being scammed online and how their bank accounts are being hacked.

Thus, it can be said that in an age where almost all are online either through computers or through Smartphones, data security has become the Holy Grail of our times.

Why Data is the New Oil and What it Means

What these incidents reveal is the increasing importance of personal data to the Tech companies and how access to such data can indeed make them and their partners very rich.

Indeed, many experts opine that Data is the New Oil wherein access to consumer data for data mining and harvesting the personal information for marketing and advertising as well as more sinister purpose of profiling them or targeting them with criminal intentions has now taken center stage.

Thus, the Big Five Tech Giants, namely, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Google, and Microsoft, are all collecting humungous amount of personal data from their users and harvesting such data for profit.

Further, the fact that these firms also sell such data to Third Parties means that the problem of data security extends to unknown realms as well wherein anyone who has that data can use for both good and bad purposes.

In addition, since personal data is valuable for anyone who wishes to target such users by marketing and advertising as well as for political and economic purposes means that all of us have to be extra careful in what we reveal about ourselves online and how much personal information are we sharing with sundry firms.

How to Protect Yourself Online

So, the next time you sign up on a website or an app or even for that matter, allow Third Party Apps to access your Social Media accounts, be mindful of how much and what information you reveal about yourself.

Indeed, while annoying ads and intrusive marketing might seem bothersome, there is other more important and sinister ways in which your data can be used for nefarious purposes. For instance, pesky telemarketers might bother you with their incessant calling and mails as well as mobile messages, sometimes; it can extend beyond this and include hacking and other criminal activities targeted at your bank accounts as well as other vulnerable financial aspects.

All of us who are online would have received emails, calls, text messages, and other targeted marketing and some of us would have no doubt experienced the scam mails asking for contact information that can lead to you losing money in the process.

Thus, no one is safe online and hence, one has to be very careful about what and how much information one reveals as well as the Digital Footprints one leaves behind on the internet and indeed, on Smartphones as well.

The Tech Firms and the Governments Have to Act as well

Having said that, it is also the case that no matter how much we try, there are some basic details which we have to share online. For instance, how many of us can avoid having Email Accounts and how many of us can desist from using Smartphones for browsing and communication as well as shopping and eCommerce and mCommerce.

Further, when the Government collects personal and biometric information about us through Aadhar and other initiatives, we really do not have a choice but to part with such information.

Thus, it is incumbent upon the Tech firms and the Government who collects and gathers our data to use it in a safe and reliable manner as well as have robust safeguards against the nefarious use of such data.

In addition, we can also subscribe to security providers who shield our online behavior and warn and protect us when such services feel that we are giving away too much information or accessing dangerous websites and apps.

Indeed, it is a very good idea for those who spend a lot of time online to go in for identity protection as well as secure protocol based apps that block unwanted content from being downloaded on our computers and Smartphones.


Lastly, as mentioned earlier, since Data is the New Oil, the battles over data mining and data harvesting are only going to become shriller and hence, it is high time the regulators and the other stakeholders design measures and put in place measures to ensure that our data and personal information is secure online.

In addition, it is also our personal responsibility to ensure that our online and mobile activities are secure as well as we only reveal what is needed and be extra cautious when we allow login using our social media accounts.

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