11/18/2020 | BYPOR Jane Reuter

Cybercrime: How to minimize data collection and use of your personal information

In this second article in our Cyber ​​101 series, Viasat cybersecurity expert Lee Chieffalo shows how we can protect ourselves from sharing too much online.

In Mexico, according to information provided by the Mexican Council for International Affairs, more than 33 million people in the world, 1 in 4, have been affected by cybercrime, which includes theft of personal information.

“Our personal information is the most valuable asset to almost every online business in the world,” says Viasat CTO Lee Chieffalo, who specializes in cybersecurity for the government sector. “Many of them make money selling this data. And there are others who could be taking your information and selling it to unreliable sources.

But there are things you can do. You can’t protect yourself 100%, but you can make it harder for them and set that bar a little higher. ”

That can make a fundamental difference, not just in your online experience, but even in the security of your finances.

Techniques like pharming and phishing (scams that use corrupted or hijacked websites, as well as emails with links to fake websites) seek personal information and could lead to identity theft.

Identifying the theft can have lasting repercussions on your digital privacy, finances and reputation online.

Targeted ads, pop-ups, and other invasions of online privacy that result from data collection are minor but still annoying consequences of having personal information online. It’s

all an unfortunate side effect of online life, a downside amid the vast benefits of the internet.

But we can also minimize it. Here are some ways to reduce your online exposure:

Don’t click on unknown links

If you get an email that seems to be from a company you have business with, do not click on any links or attachments before verifying that it is indeed from that company. Sometimes just hovering over the email address reveals that it comes from a strange address rather than a legitimate one. Better yet, go directly to that company’s page and contact them there.

Remember that your address must begin with “https” and not with “http”. The latter is a sign that the site may be damaged. Corrupt websites and links can also have spelling and font errors, unfamiliar designs, or unusual colors.

Use more than one email account

Designate one for confidential information, such as banking and finance, and keep it private. Use a second to sign up for lists, newsletters, coupons, routine appointments, and other similar activities. Reserve a third for interpersonal communication. This will keep spam out of your personal or confidential accounts and will limit the impact of a possible hack. Plus, as a bonus, it also keeps your communication more organized.

Less is more

When you’re creating a profile or you subscribe to a service, provide the necessary information only, not more. If it doesn’t affect your use of the service, consider using an alias and / or anonymous email address. This will prevent your online activity from being linked to your real name.

Do not share your personal identification

Numbers such as social security number, INE, CURP, etc. Companies often request numbers like those because they reliably link your data with many other sources, but you are not obliged to provide it to anyone, except in procedures that you have requested yourself.

Restrict privacy settings

Limit who can see your posts and personal information on social networking sites. Facebook, for example, provides basic privacy settings and guidance on how to limit your audience.

Think before you post, click “like” or “register”.

All of these actions can add you to a company’s database or provide potential thieves with a lot of personal information. Save those details for private group chats, text messages, or phone conversations.

Be careful when downloading applications

Many applications work fine without having access to your personal information. Instead of automatically clicking “accept”, first review the privacy agreement for each app and decline unnecessary permissions.

 Bottom line is that being less generous with your personal information can make you go and live safer online.


Also read: Be careful with your data usage