Online privacy concerns vary from irksome security compromises like targeted adverts to leaks that have an impact on private affairs. It is absolutely essential to be informed about privacy rules in one’s country to browse safely. In fact, privacy statistics show that approximately 51% of internet users globally are unaware of how to protect their security and data online.

There is a stark difference between data privacy and data protection. Founder & CEO of Bytebao and a regulatory compliance lawyer, Jamilia Grier, notes: “Data privacy encompasses ways that businesses ensure that customers’ and partners’ data remains private. It also includes those parties’ rights to erase data, request a full copy of such data or have that data modified. Data protection, on the other hand, has a larger scope that not only includes data privacy, but also how we ensure data is safe from cyber threats and data leaks.”

Data protection includes protecting data against loss, tampering, and damage. In order to make use of data protection methods, it's important to first note common privacy issues.

Two Typical Internet Privacy Issues to Be Aware of:

1. Tracking: When browsing the internet, it's common for targeted ads to appear on every page one enters. These ads usually relate to previously searched terms or website visits, and are due to websites and marketers tracking internet movements. They use cookie profiling to track a user's online activities and create profiles of the browsing habits for each individual. Although particular ads may be useful to some people, this is an invasion of privacy. Many find targeted ads to be intrusive and personalised to the user.

2. Theft: Identity theft is a serious issue that is fairly prevalent online. Cybercriminals slip into accounts, computers, and phones using viruses, spyware, and phishing tactics to obtain private information for use in identity theft. As a result, victims can potentially lose large sums of money, have sensitive information leaked and lose vital data. It is estimated that approximately 40% of internet users worldwide have been the victims of identity theft. This can result in tax fraud, credit card theft, and more.

What international solutions are there to tracking and theft?

International efforts have been made to create efficient systems for detecting and preventing theft and tracking in the face of growing worries about data privacy and security. To address these issues and protect sensitive information, collaborative projects have evolved. One important strategy is establishing strong frameworks for data protection that lay out precise rules and norms for both individuals and companies. Such frameworks provide rigorous encryption standards, authentication systems, and appropriate data handling policies. Additionally, finding and convicting cyber criminals depends greatly on international collaboration and information sharing between governments and law enforcement organizations.

Enhancing intelligence sharing, coordinating cyber defence tactics, and enhancing reaction capabilities are the primary objectives of collaborative projects. Global collaborations are also being established to create cutting-edge technologies like block chain, AI, and machine learning.

These technologies can improve data security measures by supplying immutable records, spotting abnormalities, and foreseeing possible attacks. International solutions aim to strengthen data privacy and security on a worldwide scale by fusing regulatory frameworks, cooperative efforts, and modern technology.

In the meantime, there are certain habits individuals have online that can make them more susceptible to a breach in data privacy.

Five habits that can cause your data to get breached:

1. Exchanging passwords. Sharing the same password with co-workers within a corporation or revealing one's password to others poses a serious risk. Cybercriminals will have unfettered access to the entire business if that password is hacked. Ensure that each user has a unique password and never share it with anybody to avoid this from happening.

2. Failing to log out of websites. It might be practical to avoid constantly entering a password into regularly frequented websites. However, it also exposes online accounts and private data to anyone using or breaking into those devices, particularly shared ones at internet cafes or libraries.

3. Sending confidential data through email. Email that is not encrypted frequently leads to theft of information. Avoid sending any private data over, or if this is not possible, make use of encryption.

4. Not reading the terms and conditions. It's quite common for people to accept the terms and agreements of a service without reading them, as they are generally a long body of text. However, it's possible to unknowingly allow businesses to access and sell private data by making this agreement.

5. Downloading attachments and files without caution. This is a habit most people are prone to; some phishing emails are incredibly accurate in mimicking legitimate companies. That's why it's essential to take caution when opening attachments and downloading files in emails.

What techniques can companies and individuals use to secure their data online?

Businesses are becoming increasingly nervous about protecting their confidential data as the news airs the latest developments in breaches of data. An alarming report was made by Mailchimp at the beginning of 2023, detailing a privacy attack on one of their customer-facing team tools. The data breach used employee credentials to attack 133 accounts.

Mailchimp’s security team responded by promptly suspending the affected accounts and any others with suspicious activity in order to protect the data privacy of their users. They then emailed the affected accounts with safety instructions to reinstate their profiles.

Companies and people that are committed to keeping their data private can use these five safety strategies to secure it online:

1. Create secure passwords. Make sure your password isn't simply a word or combination of numbers that a hacker could easily decipher, such as the word "admin," or just "1234". Select mixtures of numbers, symbols, and letters in both lowercase and uppercase and switch them up occasionally. Additionally, it's better to come up with special passwords for different websites than to always use the same one.

2. Consider using a Virtual Private Network (VPN). VPNs are a great way to protect sensitive information. They encrypt both incoming and outgoing data and provide a new IP address based on the server. NordVPN is recognized as one of the best VPN services globally for digital safety.

3. Verify the safety of websites. Look at the search engine's top bar before entering any sensitive data on a website. The site is safe if the lock icon is present and the URL starts with "https." A website privacy policy is a further indicator of reliability.

4. Install a virus protection program and turn on the firewall. Devices can be kept free from all forms of malware, including viruses and Trojan horses, with the help of a powerful anti-virus tool. A firewall that is turned on will also block undesirable network communication.

5. Take care when using free Wi-Fi. The majority of free public Wi-Fi sites have relatively few security safeguards in place, making it simple for users of the same network to view each other's actions. Wait to enter any important information onto websites until you have reached a secure, reliable place with an encrypted network.

Although many social networking platforms and internet search engines are free, they frequently come at the expense of privacy because they record browsing habits and use that data for targeted advertisements. In essence, no data is confidential because an ISP records and monitors all online activity.

By using these internet privacy recommendations, it's possible to maintain privacy and surf comfortably knowing that sensitive data will remain confidential. Privacy is a basic human right, one that people are willing to fight for. Learn more about information security and digital threats in Hive Mind’s Digital Safety and Security Course. You can register for this course by logging in or creating a profile here.

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