How Safe Is Your Personal Data, Really?

How Safe Is Your Personal Data, Really?

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Hackers seek to exploit the goldmine that is your personal data. For this reason, you should always treat details about your person as if it is under constant attack. Once in the hands of an experienced data thief, such individuals will use your personal data to open credit accounts, gain access to other private accounts in your name and potentially implicate you in all sorts of illegal activity in the process. For example, if a hacker uses your private company password to break into the network where you work, who do you think will be blamed first? Who do you think the authorities will investigate first if your private bank account is unwittingly involved in some money laundering scheme you had no part in? As you consider the dangers involved in personal data theft, it should make you wonder about the safety and security of your personal information.

Your Electronic Devices

When you store sensitive, personal information on your electronic devices, this becomes the first step to creating a digital avenue hackers depend on to exploit your data for their own sinister purposes. These criminals use everything from cleverly designed viruses to spyware to grab any specifics about you they can from areas where your information is digitally stored. When you keep information in your head or written down on paper, this makes it far more difficult for hackers to gain access to what you intend to keep private. For this reason, what you choose to store as information on electronic devices should only consist of data you can afford to be accessed and viewed by others. If you own a small business, it becomes even more essential to concern yourself with network security to prevent data breaches from occurring. Such breaches could leak your personal data as well as the personal details about your employees and clients.

Personal Information Theft on the Job

The coworker snooping through your purse or desk, while you are away to lunch, is just as interested at gaining access to your personal information as any other data thief. With so much focus on digital forms of data breaches today, you should not forget that old-fashioned methods of gaining access to intelligence about you still work. If you must carry a purse or wallet to work, it should never contain information you can afford to be acquired by a data thief.

Business-Related Personal Information Checking

Car insurance carriers and potential employers often pay to pry into your private details. These entities strive to gain access to one critical piece of information: your credit score. On the surface, you think this might not be much of a problem; however, they wrongly use this intelligence to penalize people every day. Your credit score in no way legitimately indicates that you are a good driver or that you are a good worker, for that matter; yet, this factor is commonly used to gage your insurance rates or disqualify you for a job. Once you are disqualified from a job, fall behind in your bills and your credit score plummets further as a result, this only serves to make access to such information by a potential employer even that much more dangerous to your financial well-being. The only business-entities that should be accessing this information are those companies you apply to for lines of credit. The only way you can currently defend yourself in this area is by working hard to keep your credit score as high as possible.

Government Surveillance

If you thought data theft constituted a horrible state of affairs in our digital world, government surveillance plays its own role in potentially exposing your personal, sensitive data to prying eyes. From legislated personal intelligence gathering programs to judicially leveraged attempts to unlock smartphones, the government tries to flex its muscle in granting itself an almost unlimited entitlement to any bit of information about you it desires to possess.

When you put your details all over the place, you end up helping data thieves acquire your personal data. The more you adopt a policy of not giving out your personal information so willingly, the less opportunities exist for hackers to take advantage of you. If you truly want to see how easy it is for data thieves to gather intelligence about you, you can always do an online search on yourself. You will probably be surprised at what sensitive details you will find about yourself just sitting around for the taking.

About the Author: Emma is a freelance writer from Boston, MA. Information on the importance of network security was provided by an Ottawa IT services expert. Questions? Say hi on Twitter @EmmaSturgis2