Technology has made the world a global village. Connecting the world in ways that were not possible decades ago. A business is able to scale its operations across the globe by utilizing the power of the internet. This has made us dependent & to some extent, addicted to it. People want a device that’s going to make their life easier. A device that connects them to their friends & workmates, but don’t take time to think about the security of the private data they share.
Users freely give away personal data i.e. Age, name, pictures & even location to companies like Google & Facebook. This may not be seen as an immediate threat to your privacy, but we have to realize that when you’re using the internet & personal devices, the byproduct of your daily activities in the modern world are producing records. When you connect to Google, Facebook, Jumia, OLX, Safaricom, they produce perfect records of private lives, based on personal habits.
“We must remember that privacy is not about having something to hide, but having something to protect. That thing is a free & open society, essentially liberty & independence.”
With the dawn of Internet of Things, we have a myriad of devices connected to the internet i.e. phones, baby monitors, laptops, cars, door locks constantly recording & transmitting data. This makes them prone to hackers. This may potentially be used against you in the real world. Also we often tend to forget that the devices that we carry around are as good as any military grade tracking devices if not more effective. They contain a myriad of sensors; GPS radio, gyroscopes, accelerometer that constantly collect &store data. With the right tools, a malicious actor can produce a profile based on your daily online & offline activity.
From the beginning of civilization, we have lived in villages, guarded by warriors, we needed these warriors to keep us safe from both internal & external attacks from malicious actors. As civilizations grew, this evolved into countries that have their own state commissioned armies. Now countries don’t need to have boots on the ground to effect damage on another country. They just need a couple of guys with keyboards. This has been proved by countries like North Korea & Russia that have been accused of hacking Sony & the Democratic Party respectively.
As much as the internet allows business to scale their operations, it also allows scalable crime, allowing a person from halfway across the globe to hack someone from the other side of the world without any possible consequence. This breeds a horde of black hat hackers that are on the constant look out for personal & business information that they can exploit for money.
So how can you protect your data?
There are tools & practices that can help you protect your private data.
- Tunneling your device data via Virtual Private Networks. VPNs allows you to mask your internet activity from prying eyes. They hide you from sites that collect user information while you browse by bouncing your data via servers across the world. An example of such a service is TOR browser that is powered by a mesh of servers provided by volunteers.
- Encrypt your data. There are tools that will scramble your information in your hard drive & emails making it difficult for hackers/governments to snoop on your private data.
- Use of Anti-malware protection. Malwares are designed to infiltrate or cause damage to your device without your consent. With the use of effective plugins & antivirus software, you can that can protect yourself from attacks. This is essential in laying a foundation of security for your devices.
- You can also limit the amount of personal data that you provide to internet companies. Availing information that is most important & leaving out information that may be optional.
There are many more ways to ensure that your data is kept private. I hope this gets you started on your journey to keep your data safe. Stay vigilante.