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People spend a good portion of their life online. Many mistakenly believe that what they do online is anonymous. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
When you go online, it is likely that someone is monitoring what you do and the sites you visit. This includes visits to financial websites, sites that discuss health matters, and sites where you share personal information. There is a good reason for you to want your private information to stay private when you are on the Internet.
Why Is Cybersecurity Important?
Many people minimize the importance of online privacy. This is because they cannot understand what a computer savvy person can do with data that seems innocuous.
In the real world, you would be horrified if you knew someone was listening to your conversations, recording what you said, and capturing video and photo evidence of what you do. You expect privacy. When you are in your home, you expect that your confidential conversations will stay confidential. You have that same right to privacy when you are using the Internet.
The sad fact is that information thieves do not always need to steal your private information. You often give it to them freely. And you give them consent to use said information as they please.
For example, when you download a product that is free, be it an app or a program, or if you use free email and social media, you do so with the consent that the individual providing the product or service can record your personal information and use it as they please.
A common saying is, “If a digital product is free, your information is the product that is truly being sold.” Some entities are more concerned about collecting your private data than others.
Take Steps to Protect Your Privacy
There is nothing that you can do to 100 percent protect yourself from having your digital information monitored or shared. However, you can make it harder for entities to get access to your online information.
First, make sure that the hardware you use has all the updates and security patches needed. Patch management software can help. It automatically searches for updates and applies them to the operating systems or software that need them. When your operating system or an application is updated, it is usually because there was a security vulnerability that needed to be fixed. Failure to fix a security vulnerability leaves your data open for nefarious individuals to gather and use it as they wish.
Second, keep your passwords secure. Also, create strong passwords. If your password is insecure, it is easy for your online information to be stolen. Many people use common passwords based on their name, the names of their family members, dates that are important to them, their address, or other publicly available information. They do this because they want to remember their passwords. Others will use the same password for multiple accounts.
Cybercriminals are adept at researching their victims and using the research they have garnered to guess passwords. If your password includes personal information, it is going to be easier for cybercriminals to guess it. If you use the same password for multiple accounts, all the cybercriminal needs to do is guess one password. They now have access to all of your personal information.
A secure password is going to include a mixture of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special symbols. The longer the password, the harder it is to figure out.
Take Control of Your Online Privacy
You spend hours every day online. The information that you share, the sites you visit, and the things you post say a lot about you. Even seemingly unimportant information, when in the hands of a cyber-criminal, can be dangerous.
Protect yourself by understanding the importance of cyber security and then taking steps to protect yourself, like updating your software and creating strong passwords.