Data leakage is a reality that has become increasingly common in Brazil. According to a survey conducted by IBM in December, six out of ten Brazilians have already suffered from the problem. The alarming numbers point to the importance of the International Data Privacy Day, which takes place this Tuesday (28). The purpose of the date is to make users aware of the need to protect their personal information on the Internet.
READ: Ten tips on Windows 10 to protect your data and make your computer more secure
Although common, conduct such as saving payment data online, repeating the same password on multiple sites, using public Wi-Fi networks and taking advantage of social media profiles to log in can pose a risk to data security. In the next lines, the dnetc shows seven tips for protecting your information online.
Data Privacy Day: seven tips to protect your information online – Photo: Pond5
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1. Do not save payment data
Cards saved in online stores expose consumers to data leaks and unnecessary expenses – Photo: Pond5
Although very comfortable, the practice of saving credit card data when shopping online is far from safe. Consumers who adopt this habit are actually putting their finances at risk. That’s because even the most trusted stores can fail to protect customer data and end up exposing thousands of sensitive information online. It happened in 2013 with Ingresso.com after an error in the control of sessions of the site. In addition to the risk of data leakage, there is also the possibility of stores debiting improper purchases.
2. Make privacy adjustments on social networks and other services
Make privacy adjustments on social networks – Photo: Nicolly Vimercate / dnetc
Social networks are true display windows. Users reveal details about their life and routine, which can attract not only the attention of purely curious stalkers, but also of malicious people. For that, it is necessary to go beyond restricting the privacy of the profile. That’s because on Instagram, for example, there is a loophole that allows all private posts to be accessed and shared with people outside the social network.
On any platform, the best tip for avoiding unpleasant situations is to always double your attention to the content posted. Try not to post photos and videos that expose sensitive information. It is also worth «clean up» the list of friends and followers and make sure that the profile is followed only by trusted people. Other tips involve disabling automatic tagging on photos, disabling location, and blocking annoying users.
3. Do not repeat the same password on multiple sites
Adopting unique passwords for each site helps strengthen account security – Photo: Pond5
Most people are in the habit of repeating the same password on different sites. The reason is simple and even understandable: with the variety of online platforms, it would be very difficult to remember the combinations used in each one.
Practicality, however, has a price: adopting the same code facilitates the action of hackers and opens loopholes for credential stuffing, that occur when criminals steal a website’s credentials and use them to breach other services of interest.
Therefore, in addition to using unique passwords, it is important to make long combinations, with more than nine or ten characters and that mix upper and lower case letters, numbers and special symbols. To further strengthen the security of the code, try replacing letters with numbers. If you’re having trouble creating the combination, try using online generators.
4. Do not use social media profiles to log in to other sites
Single login offers security risks – Photo: Reproduction / Ana Letícia Loubak
When starting to register on a website, it is common for users to receive a proposal to log in from their account on another service, such as Google or Facebook. Although it saves time, «single login» is not a completely secure alternative, as it grants the site access to personal information contained in the email account or social network, paving the way for privacy violations. Whenever possible, choose to register in the traditional way.
5. Review application permissions
Access your phone settings to check all permissions granted to applications – Photo: Bruno De Blasi / dnetc
It is common for applications to request permission to access contacts or files on the cell phone’s storage, as well as to use the camera, microphone and geographic location. In fact, some of them don’t work without these concessions, but there are cases of apps that improperly access users’ privacy, usually for marketing purposes. Fortunately, with a few simple tips, you can prevent applications from accessing your data.
6. Enable 2-step verification
Two-step verification makes it difficult for invaders to act – Photo: Aline Batista / dnetc
As the name implies, two-step verification makes it difficult for attackers to enter an extra phase in the login process. With the procedure, even if criminals have obtained credentials, they will not be able to access the account. For that, they would also need to have the person’s cell phone in hand, since the final authentication code is usually sent to the device. You can enable 2-step verification on services like Gmail, WhatsApp and Instagram.
7. Avoid using public Wi-Fi networks
Criminals can use open Wi-Fi networks to intercept personal data – Photo: Pond5
Attracted by the possibility of accessing online services away from home and free of charge, many users connect to open Wi-Fi networks. However, this commonplace and seemingly harmless attitude hides a risk: criminals can create fake public networks to steal user data. From the login, hackers are able to track all visited websites and even steal passwords and other personal information provided.
To avoid criminal interception, always use a virtual private network (VPN) to connect to the Internet. By encrypting the connection, VPN helps prevent third parties from accessing your device and capturing the data you send and receive. Never connect to Wi-Fi networks whose origin is unknown.
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