Privacy: how vulnerable are we really?

Deepak Gupta
Deepak Gupta January 28, 2022
Updated 2022/01/28 at 10:54 AM

With the European Data Protection Day, governments and authorities want to raise public awareness of an important topic on January 28th. But what is the best way for users to protect themselves and what are the possible scenarios in an emergency? An expert explains in an interview with the news agency spot on news.

“The Oil of the 21st Century”

“Data is considered the oil of the 21st century,” explains Thomas Uhlemann, security specialist at Eset, a manufacturer of security software. Due to the internet and the associated media, there is a “veritable flood of data” and the collection of personal data is “constantly taking on new proportions. What was still in the telephone book as a name and address 30 years ago is now digital. But by collecting and evaluating vital data from fitness trackers, whereabouts by navigation apps, videos and sound recordings, highly personal data is now being collected that belongs to the absolute privacy of the user.”

Not only scammers and other criminals, but also marketing companies and sales platforms “are literally scrambling for any information they can get their hands on”. Data protection is therefore “enormously important” for anyone who wants to protect their privacy. Uhlemann warns of absolutely horrific scenarios: “In the worst case, it can mean complete ruin for the individual private individual – economically, but also personally.” For example, after the theft of personal data, there could be blackmail by cybercriminals.

“In the personal area, we have observed a lot, from stalking to threats to life and massive damage to reputation, that could have been avoided with appropriate data protection,” the security expert continues. “But the ‘takeover’ of identities on the web can also result in fraudulent business transactions, with bills and reminders fluttering into the house and the Schufa score being massively impaired.” breath to regain control of his identity on the web”.

What can I do against it?

“The protection of personal data begins with sharing as little as possible,” advises Uhlemann. “This also means that I should check exactly which application or online service collects which data and how it is processed or even sold.” Users should consistently check whether their data is encrypted. In a web browser, for example, the lock symbol in the address bar indicates whether a connection is encrypted via SSL.

Users should also make sure “before storing personal data in the cloud – such as photos and documents – to encrypt them with their own solution or to check whether the cloud provider does this automatically”. Two-factor authentication also makes sense, “so that unauthorized persons do not gain access to these accounts simply by guessing the password.” Normally, services such as e-mail providers allow you to identify yourself with a security code after logging in with your password. This is sent, for example, by SMS to a previously stored cell phone number and is often only valid once and for a short period of time.

The expert also warns against sharing access with acquaintances or friends. Basically, users should use security software such as antivirus programs and keep their systems up to date in order to close security gaps and ward off unknown attackers. The company recently pointed out that in Germany there are currently still more than three million devices with outdated versions of Windows in operation, in which the corresponding gaps are no longer being closed.


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