Don’t Set It and Forget It: Creating a Reliable Mindset of Privacy on International Data Privacy Day

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January 28 is known as International Data Privacy Day, a time to consider the importance of privacy and the protection of data in the digital transformation and developing threat landscape.

From online tracking to a daily dose of data breaches, privacy concerns have surged among users who are finding it harder to manage and control the dissemination of their personal information.

It’s true that nothing remains truly private in the digital scape. However, improving your cyber habits and making smart choices each time you go online or share information can drastically improve your privacy and data security.

The tradeoff of greater connectivity and throwing trackers off your scent

Your online activity generates tremendous amounts of data on your digital behavior and interests – data that is monitored by ISPs, tech firms and marketing companies via the trackers and cookies hiding in every corner of the internet. For these entities, the collected trail of breadcrumbs that builds up your digital footprint means big money, as it converts into a strong customer profile for marketing purposes and more.

How Bitdefender can help: Using Incognito mode or clearing your browser’s cached data frequently won’t prevent tracking from advertisers and ad tech companies. Bitdefender VPN can enhance your privacy by encrypting your network traffic and preventing tracking with two brand-new features available for Windows OS via system-wide ad-blocker and anti-tracker technology. Our ad blocker ensures a clean and uninterrupted browsing experience and will better secure your device by stopping risky ads with embedded malicious code to infect your device.

On top of digital anonymity and access to geo-restricted content, the VPN kill-switch feature will guarantee that, even if your connection drops, data such as your financial information won’t be accidentally exposed.

From breach to data leak and beyond

The inevitability of connecting to the digital world for day-to-day activities means that users have at least a dozen online accounts brimming with personal and financial information. While you’re playing house with trackers and big tech companies that monetize your online activities, malicious actors and cybercriminal organizations also want a piece of the pie. Any information you enter on social media or other online services can be compromised by malicious actors. They will stop at nothing to gain access to login credentials, credit card data, phone numbers and medical information to fuel fraudulent activity. Once an online data trove is breached, the information is put up for sale on underground marketplaces specialized in selling commodities such as your data.

How Bitdefender can help: Bitdefender Digital Identity Protection service is a privacy-focused tool that scours the surface web and dark web for any exposure of your email addresses, breached passwords and other personal data. You can stay on top of privacy threats with real-time data breach alerts and concise one-click action items and advice to help you prevent damage.

Bitdefender Digital Identity Protection goes even further, mapping your digital footprint by showing you all of the accounts linked to your email address and phone number (provided during the onboarding process). You can find old accounts that you no longer use and assess your own privacy risks by picking up sensitive information that should not be publicly available. The functionality of our privacy tool doesn’t stop here. You can also sniff out potential social media impersonators that may harm your online presence and reputation.

Privacy and security go hand in hand

The digital age creates a thin line between privacy and the security of your data, and pumping up your cyber-resilience has never been more vital. Although bits and pieces of your digital persona are scattered across the web, the devices in your household can hold some of your most precious memories and sensitive personal data that could be compromised without proper protection.

Cybercriminals continue to update their malicious tools and schemes to trick users into unwittingly jeopardizing their devices and stored data.

How Bitdefender can help: Bitdefender solutions are built with security and privacy by design, making sure that your locally stored information is safe from spyware, credential-stealing Trojans, bots, zero-day exploits and ransomware attacks. With Bitdefender Total Security, your Windows, Android, macOS and iOS devices remain malware-free, with real-time data protection to fend off all new and existing e-threats, web-filtering technologies that block all known infected links, and anti-phishing and fraud protection to ward off websites trying to scam you.

Taking control of your privacy may be hard work, but every netizen should be reminded of the important role they play in cleaning up and securing their private data. Sticking to good cyber habits, regularly updating privacy and security settings on web services and or apps, and limiting the amount of the data they share, can significantly boost safety and privacy and minimize their risk of becoming just another statistic in an identity theft report.