Friday, 30 September, 2022
E-paper

Increase Security and Protect Digital Privacy

Mysha Nishat Bidhu

The idea of transmitting information, data, messages, and files across the internet without leaking to unauthorised parties is known as digital privacy. It is the management of information on people and their businesses. A variety of techniques and technologies can be used to prevent the emission of learning about confidential information and communications.

For a variety of reasons, digital privacy is critical. Significant damage may occur when someone's vital data and information falls into the wrong hands. A data breach at a global corporation, for example, might expose important information to both rivals and unscrupulous internet users. Similarly, a security breach at a financial institution might put customer information in the hands of people who may perpetrate online fraud. Data collected and shared without the user’s agreement might be harmful if used maliciously.

Protecting sensitive data, such as personal information, addresses, medical records, tax information, etc., from misuse is essential. The exploitation of this information for identity theft and other criminal actions is possible. Without implementing the proper security measures for digital information, users may become victims of various online scams and assaults. On the internet, cybercriminals prowl at will in search of sensitive data that they can easily steal.

Many people now find it difficult to maintain their internet privacy. Anyone utilising the internet runs the risk of having their privacy compromised by acts they may not be aware of while surfing. The growth of cookies, GPS capabilities in mobile devices, phishing attempts, unrestricted surfing, etc. are some of the dangers to digital privacy.

How can someone protect their safety while their internet information is at risk? To reduce this danger, several digital privacy measures can be used.

Cookie blocking is a crucial privacy procedure that should always be followed. While the majority of cookies are safe, they pose a risk when third-party advertisements are present. The use of cookie-blocking software is crucial because cookies secretly collect and convey personal information. Software that eliminates cookie tracking and automatically bans cookies should be installed by users. Check for browser extensions that can detect cookie tracking. To reduce intrusive tracking, ad personalisation may be disabled when possible.

Another strategy to reduce the danger is to protect personal accounts with strong security. Cybercriminals may gain access to confidential information with weak passwords. Strong, challenging passwords should be used to prevent unauthorised access to personal information. The ideal password should include both letters and numbers and be at least 10 characters long. Date of birth, ID or passport number, or anything else that may be guessed by hackers should never be used. A strong password may be created by combining many numerals with both capital and lowercase characters. Multi-factor authentication should be used to safeguard important accounts in addition to using strong passwords. For the safety of users’ financial information, social networking accounts, financial accounts, and shopping websites, multi-factor authentication is recommended.

Being cautious about phishing is a crucial step toward reducing the threat. As fraudsters try to acquire personal data, phishing has grown wildly popular. By examining any emails, a user gets to make sure they are genuine and not phishing scams. The accuracy of the sender's address should be verified; if in doubt, further research is required for the sender's details. Any embedded links should be checked to see if they correspond to those on reliable homepages by hovering the cursor over them. Before clicking on any links in the email, it is advisable to phone the original customer care number to verify its veracity.

Digital privacy will be escalated if insecure Apps are removed from phones. Personal information is at risk from applications that demand location information from users. They improve tracking and could exchange important data. Some apps may be asked for access to the galleries, messages, and contacts. It's advised to stay away from such programs whenever users come across them. If someone has these applications installed on their phone, they should remove them right now. This stops more data from being acquired without the users' permission.

Apps with encryption can be used for messaging to increase security. Communication applications with end-to-end encryption can be used to protect messages. Because of the encryption, only the sender and recipient may access the communication.

To lower risk, one may want to avoid saving financial information on shopping websites. People probably keep their financial data to facilitate easy purchases. This might be dangerous, though, as there is no assurance that the information will be safe there. It is better to take more time when inputting information while making an online purchase than to potentially jeopardise it.

To optimise digital privacy, a virtual private network (VPN) could be used. It turns a public connection into a private network to provide users privacy and anonymity. VPNs conceal IP addresses so that internet activity cannot be followed. A VPN must always be used while connecting to public WiFi. It makes it more challenging for fraudsters to obtain data or keep tabs on anyone's internet activity.

To stop computers from saving private data like browser history, downloaded files, and cookies, surfing in incognito more is preferable. Private browsing is an option available in every browser. Incognito mode or Private Browsing in Mozilla should be utilised if anyone is using Chrome. Online browsing history is not saved when in private mode. The ability to browse in private mode allows users to hide their online activity.

In the digital era of today, digital privacy is essential. A change in how online activities are carried out is necessary due to the numerous dangers to personal information. Intruders may easily transmit critical information without the users' awareness if the proper safeguards were not in place. Utilising these tactics consistently is all that is required of users. Also, users should understand the digital environment in order to keep themselves secure. In this form, digital privacy may persist.

 

The writer is a Research Associate, Bangladesh Institute of Governance and Management (BIGM)