What is a data theft
Data theft is an act of stealing when third-party snoopers (often – hackers) get hold of your personal information that was not intended for them. Stolen information can include anything – from your passwords to pictures, bank account details, health records, etc. Scammers can use your data for identity theft, to access your bank account or sell it to marketers who base their businesses on data.
Typically, data thefts occur during data breaches. They happen when hackers try to crack the databases or when employees mishandle the information they have.
How valuable is your data
Although currently there’s no way to determine the exact value of your digital data, it’s estimated an average US consumer can make 240$ per year monetizing it. The price grows depending on your digital profile, how much you share, etc.
How can you protect your data
There are many ways to protect your personal data, but you can start with the basic ones:
Do not share too much
There are no security tools that could help you stay private and secure online if you share too much yourself. Every time you go on the internet, you leave bits of traces behind. The data you generate stays there forever and travels from hands to hands. If you would not feel comfortable sharing something to a complete stranger, do not share it online.
Use a VPN
VPN creates a virtual tunnel, encrypts your data and hides your real IP address. Trusted providers use latest and the most secure tunneling protocols, industry-leading encryption. Moreover, look for providers that guarantee a strict no logs policy – it means, they do not track or record anything you do online. Hint – for this the provider has to be based in a country which does not require to log user activity.
Use strong passwords
Create strong long passwords, do not use the same passwords for a few accounts, do not use common phrases, words, sentences, dates. Consider trying a password manager. Use Two-Factor Authentication, if possible.
Recognize marketing cliches
Marketers tempt you by offering discounts, free trials or unlimited services in exchange for personal data. The more data they own – the more precise their marketing can be. If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Make sure every anti-virus or other online security software is always up-to-date. Same applies to your operating system (OS) – keep it updated.
Do not use WiFi without protection
Even password-protected WiFi networks are vulnerable to hacks. Think of it this way – if many people can access it, so can scammers. Make sure you never connect without protection.
Disable sharing services when not in use
Always turn off sharing services and use a firewall, so others cannot access your data.
The more you know, the less vulnerable to cyber threats you are. Necessary security ‘hygiene’ is elementary enough to follow every day.