The internet is a great place for finding information about celebrities, looking up your favorite movies and music, or staying in touch with people far away from you. Still, there’s a dark side of the internet that not many speak of because it scares people. Whether it be identity theft, sensitive data being stolen, or even just personal details being exposed, here are five ways your data could be leaked!
We all know that we shouldn’t post our full address on Facebook or even share the location of where we are staying on Instagram. But often, when people post pictures of themselves at the beach or eating out at a restaurant, they forget to hide the GPS location tag on their photos. This makes it easy for hackers to see where you are and plan an attack accordingly — or just stalk you. So, one of the easiest ways to prevent private data leaks is to take a backseat on social media and not share more information than you should.
Using free Wi-Fi networks
Free Wi-Fi hotspots are more than just a convenience. They’re also a risk to your personal information and security. Using a public hotspot without a VPN is like leaving your laptop open for anyone to see. The risks are numerous:
The Wi-Fi network itself can be unsecured. It’s possible that the signal you’re connecting to could be compromised by hackers, allowing them access to all of your data.
Your device could be infected with malware while browsing the internet or opening emails at an unsecured location. If this happens, hackers can steal passwords and other private information stored on your device — including bank logins and credit card numbers — as well as photos and videos
They might even be able to track where you go online by installing tracking software that records every website you visit and every keystroke you make. This makes it possible for them not only to gain access to your personal information but also to use it against you for financial gain (such as phishing attacks). Having no ransomware protection could also mean landing into scenarios where hackers could blackmail you, or steal your identity! These scenarios can damage your financial standing for years if not dealt with immediately. Victims of identity theft can access credit specialists online, like creditsage.com, for assistance when repairing their credit scores.
App permissions on your phone
Your phone isn’t the only place where your data could be leaked.
If you have an Android phone, you probably know your phone is constantly recording your location, even when you think it isn’t. But other types of information can be collected on your device, and in some cases, those permissions may not be as obvious as what’s required for an app to work properly.
Permissions are essentially the rules governing how an app can or cannot access data on your device, such as Contacts or Location Services. They also determine how to secure apps: if an app is using permission that requires a more secure access level than what it was designed for (for example, accessing files on your external storage), then it’s possible that someone could hijack the permissions and gain access to your files without having access to the correct permissions themselves.
Several types of permissions (such as Cameras and Microphones) have different levels of security — some are more important than others. For example, if an app has permission to access your microphone but doesn’t have permission to access any other data on your device (like contacts), then it’s unlikely that anyone would try and hijack its permissions to gain access to anything else
You may not have thought about it, but your data is collected when you shop online. These days, most websites have an online shopping cart that will ask for your name and address so it can be used for shipping. While this information is required to complete a transaction, the retailer does not need to share any of it with anyone else.
Social engineering is a form of manipulation when someone influences you to take any action that may or may not be in your best interest.
Social engineering attacks can occur over the phone, email, or even in person. The goal is to get you to give up information that could make you vulnerable to hackers.
In this section, we’ll look at how social engineering attacks are executed and how you can protect yourself from them.
The most common form of social engineering involves tricking people into revealing their personal information by posing as someone else. This can happen through phone calls, emails, or even in person.
Someone who says they’re from your bank or credit card company might ask you for your password or credit card number. Or perhaps someone will call pretending to be from Microsoft Windows Support, asking you to download software so they can fix your computer problems.
Social engineers use tactics like these because they know people are likely to trust them and want to help out a company they know and trust. They also know that people tend to give out more information than necessary when trying to help.
In this day and age, we share a lot of personal information online. Therefore, we should be aware of the potential consequences if our data is leaked. Thankfully, there are ways to prevent this from happening.