When people talk about online threats, they often think about the obvious: malware and scams. It's only lately that issues concerning online privacy have come to a head. News of data breaches and hacking are getting more common, making the general public question the safety of their data online. But unbeknown to them, threats to their privacy include more than just the obvious.
As you spend more of your time online—whether you’re sharing your thoughts, photos, stories, or simply browsing pages—you reveal more data than you think. Your normal browsing activities can actually become the very thing that violates your own privacy.
Oversharing on social media sites is one. Though informing your friends about your daily activities via Facebook might seem like a good idea, without strict privacy measures in place, just about anyone can view everything you share. They can figure out where you live, where you are at the exact moment, what other sites you frequent, and who to approach if they want to reach you. Even your likes aren’t spared. Social media sites have been known to do this so they can target ads that may interest you.
Using free apps also raises privacy concerns. Free mobile apps often have ad libraries that collect your data as you tap away on your device. So while you’re idly playing your game, your mobile and personal data is being gathered and sent in the background. And often, this form of data collection is legitimate. When you install apps, you’re prompted to allow certain permissions to make the app function properly. Do you even make sure to read those conditions before hitting accept and install?
It’s always the little things neglected that cause huge damages in the long run. Although protecting your privacy may seem trivial at times, doing so can save you from major embarrassment (if bad guys leak sensitive data about you), protect you from physical harm (if stalkers track down your activities), and guard your data against those who want it. Expand your security mindset and learn how to manage your privacy online.
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