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Chrysa Natsopoulou
Chrysa Natsopoulou

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Celebrating Data Privacy International Day!

The National Cybersecurity Alliance (NCA) has themed Data Privacy Day 2024 as "Take Control of Your Data".

As we commemorate Data Privacy Day, a global initiative dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of safeguarding private information, we recognize the increasing need for individuals, not just professionals, to prioritize their online privacy. This private information, called sensitive data, includes things like your name, address, birthdate, race, gender, contact details, credit card number, ID card number, medical history, IP address, or location. In a world where technology intertwines with our daily lives, understanding and implementing data privacy measures is crucial for everyone.

This blog post aims to empower users of all backgrounds with practical tips, ensuring that the protection of personal data becomes an accessible practice for everyone, regardless of their level of technical expertise. Let's explore simple yet effective strategies to fortify our online privacy in this digital age!

A brief reflection on this day 🗓️

Data Privacy Day, known in Europe as Data Protection Day, is an international event that occurs every year on 28 January. The purpose of Data Privacy Day is to raise awareness and promote privacy and data protection best practices.
So on 28th of January, governments, parliaments, and organizations work together to spread awareness about the importance of protecting personal data and privacy rights. They might run campaigns for the public, organize educational projects for teachers and students, open their doors for visits to data protection agencies, and host conferences.
The day was initiated by the Council of Europe to be first held in 2007 as the European Data Protection Day. Two years later, on 26 January 2009, the United States House of Representatives passed House Resolution HR 31 by a vote of 402-0, declaring 28 January National Data Privacy Day. On 28 January 2009, the Senate passed Senate Resolution 25 also recognizing 28 January 2009 as National Data Privacy Day. The United States Senate also recognized Data Privacy Day in 2010 and 2011.

Tips for Fortifying Your Privacy 🫵

Personal data is processed continuously—whether at work, in interactions with public authorities, in healthcare, during purchases of goods or services, while traveling, or while browsing the internet. Despite this, individuals are often unaware of the risks associated with protecting their personal data and their corresponding rights.
On this day, let's commemorate by reflecting on some privacy reminders:

Do not get phished! Phishing emails are one of the most common, and effective methods cyber attackers will use to gain access to secure information. To defend against these manipulative emails, you must:

  • Stay cautious about emails from unfamiliar senders.
  • Refrain from clicking on links in unexpected emails, as they might lead to fake websites or download harmful software to your device.
  • Never reply to emails requesting confidential or personal information. Legitimate organizations won't ask for such details via email.
  • If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is, so ignore any emails proclaiming that you have won a prize or a special discount.

Guarding Against Deepfakes Deepfake technology can create highly realistic videos that manipulate or replace the likeness and voice of individuals. In a malicious context, someone could create a deepfake video impersonating a trusted person, such as a friend, family member, or colleague, and use it to request sensitive information. Although identifying a fake video may be challenging, you can always:

  • Double-check the identity of the person making the request.
  • Approach content with a healthy dose of skepticism, especially if it's unexpected or seems unusual.
  • Stay informed about the latest developments in deepfake technology and understand the potential risks.

Watch out for vishing and smishing attempts Emails are not the only medium cyber criminals use to try and receive personal information. Fraudsters will also use SMS and voice messages to trick users into giving up personal information. So you must never handing out personal data over the phone and never clicking on links included in unsolicited SMS messages.

Avoid using public Wi-Fi Browsing online using public Wi-Fi can be convenient. But it can put your information at risk, as hackers can snoop on data transmitted throughout the network. So:

  • You should refrain from transmitting your address and credit card information on public Wi-Fi.
  • Public Wi-Fi is unsafe when there is no password for access-and event then, Wi-Fi hotspots can be used by nearby hackers to steal your data. Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) if you have to connect on public Wi-Fi to add a layer of protection to your data.

Confirm website security If you are about to log in to a web platform, ensure that the site is legitimate. The first thing you should do is to check the URL. Make sure it begins with "HTTPS", which shows that there is an encrypted communication between your browser.

Strengthening Your Passwords You access most applications, which may contain personal data, and various online platforms by providing a password and a username. Therefore:

  • Create strong passwords on smartphones, laptops, tablets, email accounts, and any other device or account where personal information is stored. Weak passwords, like "12345" are the easiest way for hackers to access your data.
  • Use Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) wherever you can. MFA is an authentication method that requires the user to provide 2 or more verification factors to gain access to a resource such as an application, online account, or a VPN. One of the most common MFA factors that users encounter are one-time passwords (OTP). OTP are those 4-8 digit codes that you often receive via email or SMS. Other examples are fingerprints, facial recognition, answers to personal security information, etc.

As we conclude this post on Data Privacy Day, let's use what we've learned to make online safety a habit. Following these easy tips for data privacy helps us feel more confident online. Every little effort to protect your info makes the internet safer for everyone. Let's keep caring about data privacy and work together for a future where our online experiences are safe and enjoyable!

“If you put a key under the mat for the cops, a burglar can find it, too. Criminals are using every technology tool at their disposal to hack into people’s accounts. If they know there’s a key hidden somewhere, they won’t stop until they find it.”
Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO

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