With the continuous growth of internet users, the risk of privacy breaches has increased. The information we share about ourselves at different times and occasions are often stored permanently and stayed there even after a long time. Tracing someone through the information available online is quite easy and so is causing harm to them.
The online world is not as safe as we think. One of the biggest threats to internet users is privacy breaches. These cyberattacks, data breaches, and hacking attempts are an eye-opener, as most of them are unexpected.
Here are 10 of the most surprising online privacy facts that you should know:
1. Hacking of Accounts
- 21% of online users are the victim of account hacking.
These hacked accounts include both email accounts and social media accounts that are used for various unauthorized purposes. To make the email and social media accounts less vulnerable to hacking you can use multiple step authentication for accessing the accounts.
2. Data Theft
- 11% of online users have been the victim of data theft.
This stolen data include some crucial information like credit card details, social security numbers, and bank details. Most of the people using online banking and online shopping sites are the victim of data theft. Online banking and e-shopping is a convenience but sometimes it has a bigger price to pay.
Related: The 5 Biggest Data Breaches in 2019 So Far (And How They Could Have Been Prevented)
- 12% of online users are the victim of cyberstalking and spying.
The personal information and photographs shared by the people considering their social media accounts and sites as a safer place are often used against them as a tool of harassing and blackmailing. No matter how secure is your account, sharing unnecessary personal information and family details is always risky.
4. Online Anonymity
- 59% of online users stated that they don’t believe in complete online anonymity.
It is often believed that one can be a part of the online world as an anonymous person completely hiding his actual identity and social status. But many online users opinion is not in favor of this popular belief. It is almost impossible to stay completely anonymous while being an active online user. It is difficult to hide from the spying eyes of doxxers.
5. Public Profiles
Not everyone on the internet wants to be an anonymous online user and there are a huge number of public profiles. Some people are least bothered about their online privacy and others love to show off their private life to the world. You can easily find a good number of public profile on all social media platforms.
Ironically, 41% of children aged 8-17 have public profiles open for all which is an open invitation for predators and risk for these young ones. Social media is not meant for kids and teens and most sites have a minimum age limit of 18 years.
Unfortunately, we still see children as young as 8 years old on these platforms and that too without any information regarding online security. Are these kids not worth protecting?
6. Threat to Career and Reputation
- 6% of online users had damaged their reputation and 1% of them have to resign from their jobs and leave their careers just because of the online world.
Arguments and scandals in the online world also have an impact on the physical world that is the real world and sometimes their consequences have a profound impact on personal life.
Even if it is an affair of the past or a comment from last decade a little searching and investigation by doxxers is enough to ruin your career and reputation. Everyone needs to be extra vigilant while using the internet. You are not an anonymous person here you have an identity that can damage your hard earned reputation outside the online world.
7. Online Scams
There are a lot of online buying and selling sites and other sites that ask you for payments but not all of them are safe.
6% of online users have reported being a victim of online scams and frauds. But this is just the number of users who have registered their complaints, there are far more people who have lost their money in online scams but have never launched a complaint. Most of them are even unaware of what to do in these instances.
Often the sites asking for online payments are not trustworthy. So, pay online only if you are sure about the sellers or person offering the service.
8. Sharing Location
- 19% of people have never turned off their device location tracking option.
This means anybody can trace them with their devices and these people are least bothered about it. Even 56% of online users are willing to turn their device location on just for checking in and updating their status.
This means they are willingly paving way for predators. Sharing your device location is telling the world about where you are at the moment and this is certainly not a wise decision.
9. Awareness about Online Security
According to the recent research by VPNPro, more than 2.7 billion people are affected by the data breaches so far in 2019. The exposing episodes of the data breach scandals by some of the most trusted sites have alerted the online users.
86% of online users have taken steps to remove their online traces like the old comments and previous search histories. Also, 56% of online users are now concerned about who is accessing their data and to what extent and have changed their account’s privacy settings.
Precaution is always better than to be sorry and it is good that the majority of online users are now aware of the online security concerns.
Read Next: Why You Need a Culture Aware of Cybersecurity
10. Laws for Online Privacy
- 68% of online users are not satisfied with the present cybersecurity laws and have reservations regarding their implementations.
Its high time government institutions should intervene in this matter and establish firm rules and regulations for cybersecurity.
All social media platforms should be made to abide by the cybersecurity laws and strict actions should be taken in case of breach of security policy. Cybercriminals are like all other criminals and must not be given any leverage.
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