The internet affords internet users the ability to do a whole lot of things from the comfort of their homes with their electronic devices without leaving their houses or offices. In the digital age, information and communication technology has made it possible for us to do so much using online services. Email has become a very important part of our life and indispensable in business transactions.
In this period of the Covid-19 pandemic that has forced businesses to reduce physical contact and moved most services online, the internet and online communication have become even more critical. People conduct financial transactions online, pay for goods and services, and hold business meetings online, government agencies and corporations use their websites to provide services. Students attend classes online and have their academic records and student account details online. The ease with which the internet can be used to accomplish a lot has made it an important attraction. However, this also means that an incredible amount of personal and business details are online in users’ emails, websites and cloud storage. This necessarily means that ensuring the privacy of our online communications is extremely important. Unfortunately, most persons do not give their online privacy the attention and security it deserves until something bad happens. Taking your online privacy for granted could be very dangerous and could lead to irreparable damages for a number of reasons and they include:
- A breach of online privacy such as the hack of a bank’s online payment system, emails or a school’s database could lead to the theft of personally identifiable information (PII). Which could pose not just financial risks but security risks as well. Internet users who conduct online financial transactions receive account statements online, have account passwords online, and buy products and services online using their credit cards. Should the Pll which includes addresses, date of birth, family contacts and social security numbers, etc. be compromised by unauthorized users or cybercriminals, this could lead to financial losses, incurring of debt and embarrassing revelations. Cybercriminals who get hold of customers’ accounts and financial details could use them to withdraw money from the customer’s bank accounts, and use their credit cards to buy goods and services.
The threat here is that customers who take their online privacy for granted could wake up one morning and notice that cybercriminals who had breached their online privacy have wiped out their savings. Online payment platforms that hold millions of customers’ data could face lawsuits if these data are breached. Additionally, they will lose customers’ trust and confidence leading to a loss of market share and business opportunities. At the individual level, a breach of personally identifiable information could pose security risks. When people’s addresses, phone numbers and social security numbers enter the wrong hands, criminals could track them, and their children and family members could be bullied, threatened or even kidnapped.
Imagine having your life savings stolen and debt incurred on your behalf. Identity theft is another serious threat that could result from a data breach. Because of the level of personal details generated and kept online, a breach of them could lead to users’ identities being stolen which could be used to perpetrate identity fraud. Internet users who upload personal information such as photographs, personal videos and other graphics, if these are not protected with appropriate passwords and online security systems, hackers could hack them with damaging consequences. An example of this was when data stored in the clouds were breached and many celebrities and popular figures had their nude pictures posted online and made publicly available. Many celebrities and thousands of Americans were hacked, and many faced a loss of reputation, shame and humiliation. Some complained of depression as a result of the privacy breach.
- Also, taking online privacy for granted could mean that when these are compromised, those involved would face losses beyond financial or reputational losses. Patients who once suffered depression or just recovering from infections or terminal illnesses could face discrimination. Employers who get to know that a potential employee is suffering from cancer or once had mental illness could discriminate against such employees. Political opponents could use breached health records to attack each other and undermine the chances of fair political campaigns. Sensitive information in the hands of criminals could be used to blackmail those whose data were compromised.
Conclusively, the way forward is for users to take their privacy seriously, install online privacy systems, use multiple passwords and ensure that unauthorized persons do not access personal information. To forestall loss of reputation, security risk, loss of dignity, discrimination and blackmail, you can install a privacy app such as Hoody that guarantee data protection, anonymity and security. It will help you protect your privacy and security. When using your browser with Hoody, each one of your tab and website gets a new IP, a new location and a unique set of Fingerprints, making tracking impossible. Hoody Phantom Browsing™ future-proof technology beats the most advanced and invasive tracking techniques.