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What is Data Breach?

Technology is advancing: while it has brought sensitive platforms to our palms, it has also enabled cyberattackers to get into our computers and find out everything about us we would never wish to disclose. Though cyber threats are growing in number and popularity, thanks to encryption technologies that we can now choose to control what we want to share online! With quick tweaks and adjustments, we can achieve maximum cybersecurity. Read this article to the end to discover how you can take back the control and play your part in preventing data leaks.

What is a data breach?

Data breaches are incidents where users’ privacy has been compromised due to data leaks or unauthorized access. The number of corporate data breaches is growing exponentially, especially as we continue with the global lockdowns and promote remote work arrangements. Talk about famous giants Canva, Dubsmash, Zoom and Australian Catholic University: all have faced massive data thefts between 2018 and 2020 because of neglecting cybersecurity standards and so, users got a lot to learn from these terrible accidents.

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Steps to Prevent Data Leaks

When you attempt to subscribe to an online service, say a designing website, it notifies you of its privacy policy and terms of service that discuss their data handling procedures. But how many times do we actually read the privacy policy before check-marking the ‘I Agree’ box? Rarely! This means these companies do understand the need for transparency and so disclose what they do with your data. This also means that you have maximum control over what information you’d like to share and whatnot. Here are 5 major steps you can take today to take charge of your privacy and regain online freedom:

  1. Use a VPN

Do not exchange private information on an insecure network, especially when you are on public Wi-Fi. These data breaches teach us to access content through secure servers like VPN for Australia, Germany and the Netherlands. Let’s learn from Zoom’s data breach incident. Apart from the fact that its privacy policy contained serious misleading information, it was also not using end-to-end encryption for a long time, not even after its active users grew exponentially and most e-learners and video callers turned to the platform. It was easier for cyber attackers to gain unauthorized access to contact numbers, email ids and passwords of users who had subscribed to the service. After this incident, many users, especially from Australia turned to privacy tools and started connecting via VPN for Australia servers.

2. Install an antivirus

Like a VPN protects users on the network while their data is in transit, an antivirus program can protect users on device level. It can diagnose potential data leaks by assessing the security standards of apps, even before users choose to install the app. Most antivirus programs have ad-blockers and do not sell or store information. We suggest users stay away from antivirus programs that sell advertisements because they might also be participating in data leaks.

3. Use a separate email account for professional work

If you are working from home and don’t have a separate, official email id, do signup for a new one rather than using your old email account for professional work. Most importantly, if you are habitual of accessing online banking platforms like Paypal, we suggest you signup for a new email and keep it solely for the purpose of banking. Avoid communicating through that email id to keep your sensitive banking information secure and private.

4. Use strong passwords

Create complex passwords for all online platforms. They should be unique, and should never contain your personal information. You can either create one based on a random sequence of alphanumeric and special characters or use a third-party password management app for this purpose. For added security, you can also enable 2 Factor Authentication.

5. Keep a check on social media profiles

Cyber Attackers often start with cyberstalking and social media accounts are their favorite platform to initiate such attacks. They may send you malicious links, spyware, malware, adware or ransomware to gain unauthorized access to your data. Follow social media hygiene and make sure your friends or follower list does not have suspicious accounts. If you notice some unknown accounts or fake profiles in your list, report or block them right away to protect yourself from catfishing and phishing attempts.

Privacy and online freedom are the fundamental digital rights of all internet users. By following social media etiquettes and cybersecurity standards, you can keep your privacy and safety intact. Protect your sensitive data and do not become the next victim of a data leak.

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