Some people consider privacy and security to be the same thing. That’s because the terms sometimes overlap, which causes confusion. The truth is, security and privacy are different but related. And it’s a great idea to have both, as each can affect your online safety.
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Below, we’ll help you understand what privacy and security is and why the two are important so you can protect yourself in an ever-increasing connected world.
So, let’s get started:
What’s the difference between security & privacy?
Privacy refers to the right of individuals to control access to their personal information. On the other hand, security refers to the tools and techniques used to ensure your personal information is safeguarded.
If you’re not careful, your data can end up in many unexpected places – this can be challenging for both your security and privacy! Still confused? Well, let’s take a look at an example for your better understanding.
As you know, you’re required to enter certain pieces of information when creating an account with any website. What happens next? There are three potential outcomes.
- Your security and privacy stays intact. The site uses your information to create your account and provides you with their services and products. They continue to take the required measures for keeping that data safe.
- Both your security and privacy is breached. The site suffers a data breach, causing your information to be exposed and sold on the dark web.
The significance of security
As the old adage goes: You can have security without privacy, but you can’t have privacy without security. While technology has made everyone’s life easier in a lot of ways, our increasing dependence on it leaves us exposed to a variety of security risks like identity theft.
Inadequate security measures can lead to information systems (and the huge amounts of data they hold) becoming compromised, and the consequences can be devastating for individuals who have their data stored on them.
Unfortunately, data breaches are only increasing with time. In 2019, more than 15.1 billion were exposed as a result of 7,098 breaches! Those numbers speak for themselves and highlight the need for better security.
Consumers want their privacy
Privacy is all the rage these days, and it isn’t difficult to understand why. Data breaches are happening way too often, invasive data collection practices have become the norm, and government-surveillance is on the rise. What’s worse, all this is just the tip of the iceberg.
According to a survey by Pew Research Center, a majority of Americans are concerned about how their data is being used by companies and the government. Furthermore, most also believe they have little control over the personal information collected about them by these entities.
Are there any tools that allow both security & privacy?
Yes. There are many tools that can help protect your security and privacy at the same time. Take, for instance, a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
These services stop third-parties from tracking your online activities by masking your true IP address with another one. Furthermore, they also keep your data from falling into the wrong hands by using robust encryption.
Another good example is The Onion Router (Tor), which encrypts your traffic and bounces it via a network of nodes spread across the world.
14 tips to protect your privacy & security
While it makes sense to stick to companies that take your privacy and security seriously, there are certain measures you should take on your own as well. Some of them include:
- Be careful of what you post on social media and online. Try to limit it. You wouldn’t want to reveal any personally identifiable information as the bad guys can use it against you.
- Choose strong passwords. Don’t re-use one across multiple online accounts. Passwords play a vital role in keeping your accounts and data safe from unauthorized access. Use a password manager to securely store all your passwords in one place.
- Set up Two-Factor Authentication wherever possible. The extra layer of security will make it difficult for hackers to break into your online accounts and steal private data.
- Protect your data and devices using security software such as anti-virus, anti-malware, and firewalls.
- Use end-to-end encrypted communication apps, like WhatsApp, Telegram, and Signal, to name a few. This will ensure your conversations remain private.
- Secure yourself on public Wi-Fi. Most of these networks don’t encrypt your traffic, which means anyone can snoop on it. Avoid transferring any sensitive information like credit card details on public Wi-Fi and use a VPN to encrypt your connection.
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- Always install applications from the official app stores like App Store and Google Play.
- Keep your operating system, security software, and other apps up-to-date.
- Don’t click on any suspicious links sent to you by unknown sources. You could end up downloading malware on to your device. The same goes for unusual attachments. Don’t open them.
- Encrypt your emails on Yahoo! Mail, Gmail, and Outlook through third-party services like Mailvelope.
- Using Ad blockers like uBlock Origin and AdBlock Plus, you can eliminate the risk of adware making its way to your device.
- Use Private Browsing (Incognito) mode when accessing the Internet as it stops your web browser from recording browsing history or cookies. However, your ISP would still be able to view your online activities.
- Carefully review the permissions you give to browser extensions and mobile apps.
Wrapping Things Up
Remember, both privacy and security is important in our highly connected world. You can (and absolutely should) have each as they play a critical role in the overall protection of your personal information.