The world is becoming increasingly connected- with locks for you home controlled on your smartphone; CCTV cameras in every room that allow you to keep tabs on your home when you are out; smartphones that help you work, run and plan activities; smart TVs that allow you to connect to the internet; smart refrigerators that take stock of your grocery and place orders with the supermarket; games that can keep you glued to your screen for hours- the list is ever growing.
We all enjoy this connected lifestyle, it has made the world a global village and daily chores so much easier and faster. But there are some caveats attached. We tend to forget that in the virtual world, your safety and privacy depends a lot on you and the precautions you take. Else you end up sharing Too Much Information about yourself and your family, making you a likely candidate for ID theft and phishing.
This is exactly what a new global McAfee survey titled New Security Priorities in An Increasingly Connected World demonstrates – we are putting more personal information into the digital realm in today’s connected world. The study also reveals a disparity in concerns as Indians do not view safeguarding their connected devices (25%) as equally important as safeguarding their identity (45%) and privacy (39%).
On a positive note, 39% of Indians rank security as the most important factor when purchasing a connected home device. That’s more than one-third of the total respondents. In addition (this one is my particular favorite), 71% of the parents would be interested in a monitoring tool to supervise their kids online.
Other India-centric salient findings of the study:
- 79% of the Indians indicate that their concern about online security has increased compared to 5 years ago. Forty-five percent rank protection of identity as top priority.
- 39% rank security as the most important factor when purchasing a connected home device.
But though users are aware of the pitfalls of sharing too much information, they are not as proactive about their online security as they should be. The survey highlights the need for more hands-on involvement on the part of the consumer. Not only should they need to take advantage of security tools, but they also need to act responsibly online.
Do you know that if you could somehow collect all the data shared by you over the years, you might be surprised at how much you have let slip unknowingly, including facts like whether you prefer coffee to tea? A simple search or a like on a post can also reveal a lot about you and your taste and character. Worried? The thing to do is to take steps to stay safe online.
Tips to stay safe online and protect what matters most:
- Do the little things.Cybercriminals don’t have to be great at what they do to steal your personal information. Minor tactics like changing default passwords and using a unique password can go a long way to prevent your personal information from being stolen. A password manager can help you create strong passwords and eliminate the need to remember your passwords.
- Research before you buy.Look up products and the manufacturer before you buy internet-enabled devices. If you find a manufacturer isn’t taking security seriously, then it’s best to avoid.
- Use identity theft protection. Consider getting an identity theft protection service to monitor use of your personally identifying information, provide insurance against financial losses and recovery tools in the event of ID theft or fraud.
- Keep devices up to date. Update device and application software when it becomes available from the manufacturer. Many new versions of software or operating systems contain specific security updates designed to protect the user.
- Review your account info. Regular reviews of online bank and credit account transactions can help you spot suspicious activities or purchases. If you see something suspicious report it to your financial institution and law enforcement.
- Re-check your privacy settings. Its always important to do a quick check on privacy settings and alter them timely so that your personal data is safe and only in the hands of the few people you trust.
In an ever-changing digital world that is continually fuelled by speed, developments and complexities, your security is your responsibility too. Own your digital presence and make your digital realm a secure one.