Aside from malware and security breaches, privacy/data breaches are responsible for the loss of information and millions of money from an individual level to organizations and companies. Usually, privacy breaches occur after a security breach but not necessarily all the time. A privacy breach can be a standalone attack.
What is a privacy breach?
A privacy breach occurs when private/ confidential information is accessed or made available to an untrusted entity without permission or authorization. This access can be through hacking, eavesdropping, intentionally or through unintentional disclosure. A privacy breach usually exposes personally identifiable information (PII) such as your name, phone number, your address, credit card details and other information you deem personal or private that can be used to implicate you when in wrong hands.
Privacy breach and risks
Your personally identifiable information is used in many sectors for instance in banking; health; learning institutions; and any other organization you have access to. This includes all your online accounts such as social media.
When a privacy breach occurs, your data might get into wrong hands. This data can then be used to blackmail you, or malicious actors can steal your identity and use it to defraud you and other people. Your identity can also be used to commit and propagate other crimes. Other organizations may use these data to bombard you with intrusive privacy ads.
Protecting yourself against a privacy breach
Privacy breaches are costly, and it’s better to prevent them from happening rather than fixing the damage caused after they happen. Here are some tips to ensure your privacy is not breached;
- Strong, unique passwords,2FA, and passwordless logins
Weak passwords allow security breaches which in turn allow privacy breaches. Use a password management utility to create strong, unique passwords and manage them properly. Also, use two-factor authentication to log into accounts. 2FA verifies your identity and proves you are the one trying to log into your account. Alternatively, you can use a relatively new method known as passwordless logins. This method eliminates password and uses biometrics or hardware tokens instead. The best thing about passwordless logins is that your biometric information isn’t transmitted over the internet where it can be intercepted and used to breach your privacy. Authentication happens on the device.
- Secure and update your devices
Aside from having strong, unique passwords on your accounts, extend the same practice to your devices too. Also, ensure you update your devices operating system regularly as well as your software. Updates may contain security patches to fix a vulnerability that can be exploited by a malicious actor to breach your privacy.
- Monitor your bank activities, credit cards, and financial accounts
Always check your bank reports and ascertain whether you carried out all the transactions recorded. Also, ensure you have enabled credit alerts so as the bank sends you alerts every time a transaction occurs via your card. If you see any suspicious activity in your reports or get an alert that your credit card has been used and you didn’t authorize the transaction, contact the bank immediately and have them lock your account.
- Check if the websites you visit are secure
Nowadays, many organizations and online accounts have secured their websites, and they offer encryptions. Secure websites have https in their URL. The s means they are secure. If you visit a website with just “HTTP”, don’t give out your information or fill any forms provided. Also, check if the website is legitimate or it has been spoofed.
- Avoid public Wi-Fi
Free public Wi-Fi is the hub of malicious actors waiting to eavesdrop, sniff your data and even perform other attacks such as man-in-the-middle attacks. Malicious actors can easily intercept your internet traffic and using simple network analysis tools; they can discern your username and password to every account you have logged into while using public Wi-Fi. With this information in their hands, they can perform other attacks such as blackmail and identity theft.
- Use a VPN – IPBurger VPN
IPBurger VPN is the ultimate tool to protect you against privacy breaches that involve data interception, especially on public Wi-Fi. IPBurger VPN uses the strong AES 256 bit standard to encrypt your internet traffic. Your internet traffic is then tunneled via a secure server to its destination. Due to strong encryptions, your internet traffic isn’t visible to prying eyes such as malicious actors, ISPs, and even the government. Also, the IPBurger VPN servers assign you a virtual IP address each time you connect to them. This virtual IP address masks your actual IP address and this, in turn, hides your real location hence making you private.