When we think of privacy and security, we think about the day and age that we live in now. That’s because, over the internet, hackers are able to gather your information seemingly within a matter of seconds. Prior to the internet era, criminals would have to go to great lengths to steal your information. They literally would go through your trash to collect private information, but it was much more rare.
After all, you could stop an identity thief in their tracks if you were to step outside while they were dumpster diving and you could identify who was doing it. These days, though, thieves are almost entirely anonymous and could be on the opposite end of the world when they take your information. What they do with it could damage your finances, your credit, and even your reputation. Let’s take a look at the importance of privacy and security in the age of computing, and what you can do to protect yourself.
Why They Want To Know You
During the early days of the internet, you didn’t have to agree to have all of your personal information tracked. You simply went onto whatever website you wanted, clicked around for a little bit, sent some emails, and called it a day. Times have changed rapidly, though, and every website seems to want to know everything about you.
The biggest reason for this is focused advertising. There is only so much money that can be squeezed out of the internet that your browsing information is sold quite frequently. Facebook is perhaps the biggest perpetrator of this, as you agree to have your browsing history tracked by the social media site so that they can present targeted advertisements to your news feed. While it may seem intrusive, it’s actually a necessity to keep these expensive large sites running.
Many people are becoming more informed on the ways that social media is tracking their information and opting to avoid this part of the internet altogether. Outside of major websites and social media companies, though, there are individuals who want your information for more nefarious reasons. These people want your passwords so that they can access your banking information, social security number, and much more.
Protecting Your Privacy
Privacy is one thing that most of us wish we had more of, especially in the age of computing. After all, privacy is a fundamental human right, but with many people carrying around cell phones that are ready to record at a moment’s notice, it can be hard to come by. The last place you want to lose your privacy is in your own home, but your computer can act as a gateway to a loss of that privacy.
When you aren’t staying on top of your privacy on your devices, you’re able to be tracked anywhere that you’re going and what you’ve been looking at online. With that said, always check the privacy settings on each one of the apps or websites that you visit to make sure that you’re only sharing the bare minimum of information. Location tracking is one of the big ones that almost every website seems to want to collect from you, so turn it off for everything except for directional apps like Google Maps or Waze.
At the same time, it may be a good opportunity to purge yourself from any apps that you aren’t using as they can still track your information. Your private information is only for you to know, and who you want to share with is entirely up to you. Even on search engines like Google and Bing, you can change your privacy settings so that your every search isn’t being recorded.
The first cybercrimes that were committed didn’t come from an individual accessing someone’s checking account online. Instead, these early crimes focused on obtaining military passwords, which was a matter of national security. While there have been some leaks and hacks through computing when it comes to the government and military, they’re always upping their security systems to the point where their systems are nearly impenetrable.
As for your cell phone and computer, that might not be the case. There are security programs like Bitdefender, McAfee, and ESET that can help keep you secure, and they really come in handy with all of the fake links that are presented on the internet. It’s easy to be fooled by a legitimate-looking website or email, and it could lead to serious problems.
Many of these viruses put in keyloggers that can find out the usernames and passwords to your most valuable information like your bank account. Always make sure that your passwords are changing frequently, using password managers like Google to make them more secure. You can also enable two-factor authentication on all of your more sensitive apps and websites to make hacking nearly impossible.
While we entrust our privacy to be protected, it can always be exploited. With that said, it’s important that we do our part to make sure we’re on top of all of our security so that we aren’t victims of the fastest-growing form of crime in the world.