Data Privacy in 2021

10 Feb
Industry, Partners

As we recently recognized Data Privacy Day, it is an annual reminder to raise security awareness and promote data protection best practices, especially during times like COVID-19 when remote work creates more cybersecurity concerns and attackers have become more active than ever.

As we continue working from home, shopping online, and generally increasing our online activity, the more sensitive information we put out there. Some organizations in Canada (such as banks and airlines), as well as the government, take some responsibility in protecting your data under data privacy laws like However, as of November 2020, the Canadian government is working to enhance Canadian privacy laws with all organizations.

Our partners at LogRhythm recently published a valuable blog in which they discuss the state of data privacy for 2021. As the blog reports, the average citizen provides sensitive information to many companies – such as social media, online shopping, and apps – to comply with the digital demand of our society and economy and they are increasingly feeling less control over their personal data because of it.

The blog gives a great example of a well-known app that forces the user to either accept the privacy policy or find another service – a practice that is becoming more and more common. The recent privacy policy updates from WhatsApp, in which Users are upset with the new terms and conditions, state that the company reserves the right to share consumer data such as phone numbers, IP addresses, and payments made through the app with Facebook and other Facebook-owned platforms. If users do not agree with these conditions, they are forced to use an alternative platform or service. As we continue to put our information online and more companies experience data breaches, consumers should develop a good understanding of how companies are using their data and how they can access that information. LogRhythm’s team from LogRhythm Labs conducted interesting research to learn if the average citizen can gain access to their personal information that organizations keep records of. Check out their research results included in the blog.

So what can you do to protect your sensitive data? Below are a few data security tips from LogRhythm for individuals to help improve protection of their data:

  1. Use security software such as ani-virus software and a firewall:In order to truly protect yourself from potential threats, viruses, and other malware on your computer, it’s important take extra measures by installing security software. Antivirus software can help you keep up to date with the latest “bugs” on the internet and protect your devices from damaging viruses that allow hackers to do things such as spamming your email account. Firewall is a computer hardware or software that also helps to block hackers from accessing your computer by filtering unauthorized traffic to access private data in your network.
  2. Keep your software up to date:Sometimes software updates can feel like a giant pain for users, but it is a necessary step to take when recommended by your device’s manufacturer or operating system provider. Updates may contain security patches that protect your computer after a vulnerability was discovered.
  3. Create strong passwords:We hear this direction all too often, but not enough people take it seriously, putting their sign-in credentials at risk. Make sure you are creating passwords that contain uppercase and lower-case letters, numbers, and special characters. Never use similar information that could be found on any public profiles or social media accounts such as birthdates or your favorite sports team. Create long passwords and change them on a regular basis. Also, do not use the same password for every account. If hackers are able to get into one account such as your email, then they can discover other sensitive accounts that you use (such as hacking your bank information) and target those next.
  4. Avoid phishing scams:Average-working citizens are being targeted every day by phishing attacks which is a type of social engineering. It’s important to be very aware and conscious of your email because falling for a link scam can lead to a hacker downloading malware on your computer or hacking your personal information (e.g., names, addresses, SSN). Avoid clicking on an email that seems suspicious, provides a sense of fear and urgency to manipulate a response, or comes from an unknown sender. Hackers are getting more sophisticated with their tactics and it requires you to be attentive and alert. Even if you believe an email is coming from a known sender, be cautious and make sure to check their email address and hover over images and links to confirm because cybercriminals can change a minor detail in the email or a URL to manipulate targets into thinking they are credible.
  5. Enable multi-factor or two-step authentication:Be sure to add an extra layer of security in case your password is stolen. Although a multi-step verification process may seem tedious in the moment, it can save you from a lot of headache in the long run. Taking an extra step to login each time is worth it over being hacked.
  6. Don’t use public Wi-Fi without a VPN:A public Wi-Fi network can make you an easier target for hackers and put your information at risk because it is an open connection and is often unsecured leaving you vulnerable if they are able to exploit a security flaw in the network to intercept data. It’s best to use a virtual private network to secure your connection by encrypting your data. Also, avoid logging into password-protected websites on public Wi-Fi. If not, hackers can observe things like your browsing activities, logins, and transactions which open the window to breach more sensitive information.
  7. Limit your public information online:A major step to achieving data privacy is living a more private life online and avoid posting sensitive information that hackers can take advantage of. Limit the amount of information you put out there on social media sites because cybercriminals will take advantage of social media profiling by gathering clues about your connections, interests, and more which can make you an easier target.
  8. Always review privacy policy on third-party applications:It’s critical to understand what rights you are giving away when you accept the terms and conditions of a company’s privacy policy. Policy can often be lengthy and filled with terminology that overwhelms users to the point where they simply blindly accept the terms for convenience sake. This leads to users having a lack of understanding about who can access their data and how they are using it. Foster better habits by truly understanding what you are signing yourself up for. Do your research and see what other people are saying about a policy to help guide you if you are not sure what something means. Always remember that once you accept the conditions, it’s harder to go back and reverse the information and data that is out there.

SOURCE.

If you have any questions about data privacy, including steps you or your company can take to increase security around your data, contact us at sales@securesense.ca.


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