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Online Privacy And Online Security Protection

Online Privacy And Online Security Protection

Staff Writer @ VPN.com

Last Updated:

Online privacy and security have become growing concerns as the internet becomes increasingly integrated into our daily lives. Protecting our personal information and data online involves safeguarding sensitive information from unauthorized access, maintaining control over what we share publicly, and determining how third parties can collect and use our data related to online privacy.

Significant issues include user tracking by search engines and social media platforms, online identity theft and scams, the use of cookies and mobile apps to gather data without consent, and inadequate privacy settings on websites and services—all impacting online privacy.

We can use security tools like antivirus software and VPNs to enhance our online privacy, enable two-factor authentication, check that sites use HTTPS encryption, and adjust account and browser privacy settings.

Overall, being aware of online privacy risks, making informed choices about what information we share, and taking proactive security measures can help us protect our identities and sensitive data in the digital world.

The Major Common Online Privacy Threats

The Major Common Online Privacy Threats

The following are some of the significant common online privacy threats that people should be concerned about:

Identity Theft and Scams

Scammers and hackers can gather information from social media, public records, and data breaches to steal identities or target phishing scams. This remains one of the greatest threats to personal information.

Tracking and Profiling 

Search engines, social media, advertisers, and other third parties use tools like cookies, location data, and browsing history to track online activities and build detailed profiles of users, often without proper consent. This data can then be used or sold by these entities.

Inadequate Privacy Settings and Controls

Many websites, apps, and services have loopholes in their privacy settings that can unintentionally expose more user data than intended to advertisers, platforms, or other users. Users often need to be made aware of what data is being accessed.

Data Mining and Sharing

Once online entities collect user data, it can be aggregated, analyzed, shared, or sold between third-party parties like advertisers, data brokers, merchants, etc, without transparency or meaningful consent. This expands exposure.  

Security Vulnerabilities and Breaches

Weaknesses and flaws in website/app security can enable hackers to access databases filled with sensitive user information like usernames, emails, locations, interests, passwords, financial data, etc. These breaches can expose masses of private data.

Lack of Encryption 

Unencrypted internet connections can allow hackers to view all information passed between a user’s device and the website they are visiting, compromising online privacy. This includes passwords, messages, searches, and other private communications. Encrypted HTTPS connections prevent this, enhancing online privacy.

While the internet offers convenience, users face growing risks related to identity theft, profiling, insecure data practices, tracking, and outright data theft/exposure in online privacy. Awareness of these threats and protective actions like enabling security tools, adjusting privacy settings, and practicing good password hygiene are critical for maintaining online privacy.

Key Steps to Protect Your Personal Information 

Key Steps to Protect Your Personal Information

The key ways to protect personal information online include:

  • Use strong and unique passwords for all accounts, including letters, numbers, and symbols. Enable two-factor authentication wherever possible for an extra layer of security.
  • Limiting the personal information shared publicly on social media and online profiles. Adjust privacy settings to restrict data access.
  • Use antivirus software and VPNs when on public Wi-Fi connections to prevent snooping and data theft. Avoid online shopping, banking, etc, on public networks.  
  • Backing up data regularly online through encrypted cloud storage services to prevent permanent data loss from malware or device issues.
  • Deleting unused online accounts that may store personal information and payment details to limit exposure from potential breaches.
  • Checking bank and credit card statements frequently for unfamiliar charges indicating fraud or identity theft. Consider credit monitoring.
  • Being cautious of unsolicited messages and calls asking for personal information, which are likely scams. Avoid clicking suspicious links. 
  • Using encrypted HTTPS website connections for secure data transmission. Check for “HTTPS” in the URL.
  • Limiting convenience features in apps and services that can access location, contacts, etc, without clear benefit. Disable when possible.
  • Keep devices physically secure to prevent unauthorized access, and use lock screens with PINs or biometrics like fingerprints.

As we know, protecting online privacy requires awareness of risks, vigilance around sharing personal information, using security tools judiciously, monitoring account activity, and making informed choices when using internet-connected apps, services, and devices. Instilling good privacy and security habits can help safeguard sensitive user data.

The Most Common Types Of Cyber Attacks That Can Steal Personal Information

The Most Common Types Of Cyber Attacks That Can Steal Personal Information

The following are some of the most common types of cyber attacks that can steal personal information:

Phishing Attacks

Fraudulent emails or websites are disguised as trustworthy entities to trick users into entering login credentials, financial information, etc, which is then stolen.

Malware Attacks

Malicious software like trojans, spyware, and keyloggers infect devices to steal data like passwords, keystrokes, files, etc, or take control of systems.  

Man-in-the-Middle (MITM) Attacks

Attackers insert themselves into a transaction between two parties, letting them view and steal data from online sessions.

Identity Theft

Hackers piece together bits of personal information from breaches, social media, etc, to impersonate targets and gain access to accounts, funds, and services.

Supply Chain Attacks

Security flaws in a company’s software vendors, partners, etc, are leveraged to infiltrate their systems and customer data.

Insider Threats

Employees or contractors with privileged system access can abuse this to steal confidential customer/company information.

SQL Injection & Cross-Site Scripting

Attackers exploit vulnerabilities in websites and apps to inject malicious code and commands that let them access databases filled with user info, threatening online privacy.

Standard defensive measures include security awareness training, malware protection, patching, encryption, access controls, and monitoring for suspicious activity to safeguard online privacy. But ultimately, cyberattacks are growing increasingly advanced, making vigilance and preparation key to protecting sensitive personal data and ensuring online privacy.

Steps To Protect Your Personal Information 

Steps To Protect Your Personal Information

The following are some key ways individuals can protect themselves from malware-based attacks:

  • Keep all software and operating systems updated frequently, as updates often contain critical security patches to fix vulnerabilities that malware exploits. Enable auto-updates where possible.
  • Use antivirus software and firewalls to detect, block, and remove malware. Keep these security tools updated for maximum protection.
  • Practice caution around downloading email attachments, clicking links, installing programs, and visiting websites, as these are common malware infection vectors[2][3][6]. 
  • Create strong, unique passwords for all accounts and use multi-factor authentication to prevent unauthorized access. 
  • Back up data regularly offline or via encrypted cloud storage services to enable recovery if malware encrypts/damages files.
  • Use VPNs when on public Wi-Fi and avoid accessing sensitive accounts from public networks to prevent snooping.
  • Educate all users on malware risks and best practices around security, suspicious messages/links, password hygiene, etc.

In summary, layered security measures like software updates, security software, backups, access controls, and user vigilance work together to provide the best defense against continuously evolving malware threats. No solution is perfect, but combining these best practices offers strong protection.

Basic Examples Of Online Threats

Basic Examples Of Online Threats

Weak, reused passwords 

Using simple or reused passwords across accounts makes it easy for hackers to gain access and steal personal information through credentialing or guessing.

Oversharing personal information  

Putting excessive personal details on social media and online profiles provides data for advertisers to profile users and for identity thieves to exploit. 

Unsecured web browsing 

Public Wi-Fi or unencrypted HTTP websites can allow snooping of login credentials, messages, searches, and other private communications.

IoT device vulnerabilities 

Internet-connected devices like smart home gadgets can have security flaws that give hackers access to deeply personal data they collect about users.

Phishing/malware attacks 

Deceptive links and downloads infect devices with malware that steals banking information, files, logins, and keystrokes and exposes systems to attackers.

Tracking and profiling 

Search engines, social platforms, and advertisers use techniques like cookies to record browsing history and build detailed behavior profiles without consent.

Data mining and aggregation 

Personal information is increasingly compiled from breaches, public records, and online activity into detailed profiles by data brokers, which are sold. 

Facial recognition 

Advancements in facial recognition use images and videos from social media, CCTVs, and other sources to identify, profile, and track people’s activities.

This underscores the importance of online privacy protection, as threats range from individual account hijacking to mass surveillance, necessitating security tools and vigilance when sharing personal information online.

Conclusion

As our digital lives become increasingly intertwined with the internet, safeguarding our online privacy and security becomes more crucial. We face threats from malicious actors like hackers and scammers trying to access our sensitive personal information through techniques like phishing emails, malware attacks on devices, and exploitation of vulnerabilities in websites and apps, all compromising our online privacy.

Mass surveillance and user profiling by corporations and governments also erode online privacy through tracking tools, data aggregation, and facial recognition.

Protecting ourselves requires awareness of these risks, prudent information sharing, adoption of security tools like antivirus software and VPNs, multifactor authentication for accounts, vigilance around suspicious messages and links, and educated security habits on our connected devices. Additionally, checking site encryption, adjusting privacy settings, monitoring financial statements, and backing up data can help maintain control over personal information and online privacy.

No solution is perfect, but combining best practices in security and online privacy hygiene allows us to harness the connectivity of the internet while mitigating associated risks from various threats to our identities, data, devices, and online presence. Maintaining privacy and security in the digital world is an evolving challenge, but educated and proactive internet users can build effective defenses to preserve their rights and interests online.

Customer Reviews for NordVPN: In-Depth Review, Tests, and Stats

IR Irina

Online Privacy And Online Security Protection
Verified
Connection issues with MLB.TV
So I had some connection issues on my iOS device (iPad) with MLB.TV streaming, and representative named Garfield SOLVED my unique problem that I had spent hours researching and tackling with no luck before today! Garfield was extremely patient, personable, and very knowledgeable. Through multiple approaches and problem-solving steps, he created a solutuon that worked. Way to go, and definitely a returning NordVPN customer here. Thank you, Garfield.
Date of Experience:
May, 2 2023
CH Christina

Online Privacy And Online Security Protection
Verified
Prompt customer service
My subscription automatically renewed and a payment was taken, which I didn’t want as I haven’t been using the service. I contacted the company and received a prompt and efficient response where my subscription was reversed and the payment was returned. If only every company was so easy to contact and communicate with!
Date of Experience:
May, 6 2023
MW Michael White

Online Privacy And Online Security Protection
Verified
I would highly recommend
Excellent service and easy to use to protect your privacy. I have NVPN on my laptop, iPhone and fire stick, great value for money.
Date of Experience:
December, 15 2023
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