According to the newest report from the Pew Research Center, about 81 percent of the people in the US report being online every day. 45% say they are online several times a day and 28% report being almost constantly online.  As expected, the younger group spends relatively more time with almost half (48 percent) of people between 18 and 29 reporting being online constantly.

Not only are we spending more time online, but a much wider part of our lives takes place digitally. Socially, there is a wider trend to meet and spend time with people online (for example online dating) and also to keep in touch with people from our offline world through digital means.

The internet also allows us to perform a lot of activities like shopping or making bank transactions that before required us to physically go somewhere. Moreover, the devices with which we interact with the digital world are also increasing in number and function.

The very strong trend of Internet of Things (IoT) means that now our home appliances, vehicles, and everyday objects are designed and programmed to be smart. Smart means that they help us organize our lives, park more safely, and optimize their behavior. 

Sadly, this increase in efficiency has also made us more vulnerable. One of the main factors that determine this vulnerability lies in what has now become a buzz word: data. Data is one of the driving factors that has allowed the flourishing of smart applications.

This has been recognized both by the companies themselves, as well as by fraudsters, making data a very valuable asset.  This means that we need to start taking our online habits seriously and inform ourselves about what data means in the context of our online lives, and how can you protect yourself and your families from undesired results.

Data security is a broad topic, but these 10 facts will help as a starting point for you to create a meaningful strategy towards a responsible data security strategy. Let’s know about data security, specially the 10 facts.

1. Types of data that are stored

You can think that the only information that is stored from you is the one you explicitly give in registration forms or your social media posts. You are wrong, through different technological means like cookies and trackers, companies can track everything you do and visit, not only in their website or application but also what you do and visit in other websites. Starting in May 2018, the European Union has set a basic framework that sets limits to what companies can do and sets some basic rules for transparency. This type of legislation is not yet in place in the United States.

2. Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning algorithms are the power engine.

Data has become one of the biggest assets of a company because a lot of knowledge can be derived from it. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning use algorithms that have proven very effective to learn patterns and perform predictions. Their efficacy increases since the data that they use as input is more precise and diverse.

3. How are companies using data for their profit?

The capabilities given by the most modern data analysis methods are helping companies in a myriad of ways. Companies are making production chains much more efficient and cost-effective. Data is also helping companies make marketing campaigns that are individually tailored. Customer Support is being revolutionized thanks to the advances in smart chatbots. Companies are now able to accurately predict consumer habits and preferences according to the context (moment of the day, day of the week) so they can recommend more products and know when a customer wants to quit a contract.

4. What are the most common scams?

Not only have companies making profits from data, but fraudsters have also found new ways to take advantage. Online scams can be quite different, but they include identity theft (where some important piece of personal data is stolen and people use it to perform transactions or get some sort of benefit), fake purchasing ads (where people offer fake services or products), scams through emails (where people are tricked into sending money or buying something), and fake profiles in social sites (like dating platforms or social media platforms).

5. Ways to protect yourself technologically

There are several ways you can use technology to protect yourself from scammers. Some of the most important ones include always having all the devices up to date (since companies continuously patch security problems that previous versions had) and setting up 2-factor identification in your accounts.

6. Develop a cautious behavior to protect yourself

Technology is a big part to help you protect yourself from scams, but it will not be enough if you do not develop a cautious and responsible approach to data and your relationships online. Be careful not to share personal data with strangers or through forms, and whenever you develop a deeper relationship online perform a background check from Nuwber to check if that person is being honest about their basic information (marital status, criminal record, address, etc.). As for data you give to companies, always read the terms of service, and do not use services from companies that do not take your data privacy seriously.

7. Be careful about what you purchase online

Learn to scan ads online. Offers that are too good to be true (very low price) will normally be a scam. Ask the buyer for photos and check if the photos are real or if they have been downloaded from the internet. Use safe payment methods.

8. What are data breaches, and can you avoid them?

Data breaches happen when hackers find ways to get into companies’ data warehouses and manage to steal personal information. For this one you entirely rely on the security systems that companies have in place, so there is nothing directly you can do. However, to minimize the risk of data being stolen, you should only have accounts with the services that you actually use.

9. Passwords

Passwords are a big topic of data security. Never use the same password for more than one account and make sure that the passwords are strong (with special characters). A good practice is to use a password manager that organizes passwords safely for you.

10. Quantum computing could destroy cybersecurity as we know it

In computer research labs, there is a new technology that may sooner or later put the whole cybersecurity system in jeopardy. With quantum computing, computing power will increase exponentially. This is a big problem for a lot of security systems since they depend on computers being unable to perform many operations in a reasonable time.

Who know about data security including these 10 facts and could implement perfectly in his project, let’s assume his data is secured.

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