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How to protect your personal data on the internet?

protect your personal data on the internet

Date: 01.23.2022

Written By

Editorial Staff

I am a blog scientist by the mind and a passionate blogger by heart ❤️. Fountainhead of cyberindeed. I am a freelance writer and lover of all things tech, crafting and general geekery. i am currently living in New York, United States.

Personal data are any type of data that can be used to directly or indirectly identify a person (data subject). The abundance of personal data on the internet are a mine of information for all the people who would like to use them for misuse: competitors, haters, cybercriminals…

Today, they intersect, creating a very narrow porosity between the two worlds. It is more and more frequent that actions carried out in private life have important consequences on the professional level. From this observation, it is essential to learn how to better manage your digital footprint and to prevent private information from being misused.

This list of recommendations aims to give you the best practices to adopt in terms of online presence in order to protect your image and possible damage to your company’s E-reputation.

By following these practices, you will reduce the risk of misuse in the personal and professional environment.

They can be used by many actors for more or less harmful ends:

  • Competitors
  • Cyber ​​crooks
  • Journalists
  • Political activists
  • Haters
  • Hackers
  • Employer
  • Recruiters

Table of Contents

Why should you manage your reputation on Google?

Google is your business card on the Internet. As part of the management of your personal and professional E-reputation, it is common for third parties to seek information about you. This research can be carried out in a traditional framework, but also by cyber crooks who seek to cross-check as much information as possible on their future victims.

Search and protect your personal data on the internet
Search and protect your personal data on the internet

The risks of a bad image on Google

  • Give a bad image in the professional environment (customers, recruiters, partners…).
  • Filter sensitive information that can be used against you.
  • Mix personal / professional information and risk collusion between the two worlds.

Precautions to be taken

  • Regularly check your online presence on Google.
  • Arbitrate what should or should not appear on Google.
  • Clean up superfluous information from the search engine.

Watch out for the Streisand effect

When making requests for deletions of content or actions on the internet, it is essential to ask yourself that a Streisand effect cannot occur. This expression comes from a situation that affected Barbra Streisand following legal action against a photographer. The situation turned against her, causing more damage than the initial problem.

The tools to use to verify the information available on Google

Use one of these free tools to set up a simple watch on your first and last name.

https://www.talkwalker.com/en/alerts
https://www.google.com/alerts

How to make good use of your email addresses?

E-mail addresses are used as a login for creating accounts on most sites (professional tools, e-commerce, institutional sites, etc.). Many sites regularly have their databases hacked. Emails and passwords can be downloaded freely from dark web sites.

Precautions to take with your email addresses

If you use the same password and email associations on many sites, hacking one site may allow access to others.

The risks of improper use of the mailbox

  • Facilitate online scams.
  • Simplify hacking.
  • Leakage of sensitive data.

Precautions to take with your email addresses

It is advisable to use different e-mail addresses for each use and to separate strictly. This avoids the mix of genres which does not always give a positive image and simply prevents personal or professional information from mixing on the respective email accounts.

  • Professional e-mail: only used for professional uses and exchanges.
  • Nominative or personal e-mail: only used for personal exchanges and accounts on authority sites (telephone subscription, taxes, EDF, social security, etc.).
  • Non-nominative disposable e-mail: used for all other uses (social networks, dating sites, e-commerce, newsletters, etc.).

Which tools to use to check email and password leaks?

Check regularly if your e-mail addresses are present in the databases of hackers. If so, change the passwords associated with those emails.

https://haveibeenpwned.com/

How to have secure management of your passwords?

Faced with the proliferation of online accounts, it is common to use the same passwords on several sites. Since the email/password association is identical on many accounts, hacking one of them gives access to the others. So, how to protect yourself from hacking?

use strong passwords to protect your personal data on the internet

The risks of mismanaging your passwords

  • Serial account hacking.
  • Leakage of confidential information.
  • Take control of an account or a social network.
  • Identity theft.
  • Implementation of fraudulent actions.

The precautions to take to secure your passwords

  • Use complex passwords (upper case, numbers, special characters).
  • Use different passwords on all sites.
  • Do not write down passwords on or off your PC.

Password security tools and software

Software can simplify the management of passwords and generate complex ones for different accounts.

How to manage privacy and exposure on social networks?

By default, social networks are not configured to make them secure. A lot of information will be public if you do not make specific settings for your privacy. It is common for many personal accounts to publicly display a lot of information that it would be preferable to keep private (name of children, spouse, employer, personal photos, etc.).

How to manage privacy and exposure on social networks?

The risks of mismanaging your privacy on social networks

  • Lack of control over public data.
  • Leakage of personal data.
  • Identity theft.
  • Impact of the private sphere on the professional sphere.
  • Sensitive information accessible to curious or cybercriminals.

Press articles often report various incidents in which burglars have used social networks to identify empty homes of Internet users indicating their vacation dates.

Precautions to be taken to secure social media

  • Use nicknames on your social accounts.
  • Use a non-nominative disposable e-mail for registration.
  • Avoid the use of personal photos in profile photo (face), prefer a landscape or other.
  • Make profiles non-public.
  • Request the deindexing of the profile from search engines.
  • Make the profile as confidential as possible, limit access to publications to network members only.
  • Use double identification.
  • Avoid posting content that you would not want made public.

How to avoid personal information phishing?

Phishing (also known as phishing) is a malicious practice in which fraudsters retrieve a user’s personal information in order to perpetrate identity theft or fraudulent actions. The term is a contraction of the English words fishing and phreaking, which mean fishing and hacking telephone lines, respectively.

How to avoid personal information phishing?
protect personal data from phishing attempts

This is a fraud technique used by computer hackers which aims to recover personal information (bank data, usernames, passwords) by usurping the identity of a trusted third party such as your bank, your FAI, an institution…

We have all received dozens of emails pretending to be various organizations, asking to log into our account.

The risks of phishing for victims

  • Identity theft.
  • Taking control of accounts.
  • Financial scams.
  • Disclosures of Personal Information.

Precautions to be taken to avoid the leak

  • Never connect to a site via a link received by e-mail.
  • Always check the URL of the site in the browser if in doubt.

How to avoid cyber harassment and Doxing attempts?

Doxing is a cyber-harassment which consists in discovering and revealing the true identity of an Internet user in order to harm him. Doxing is a particularly nasty attack that can have dire consequences for victims and their businesses.

How to avoid cyber harassment and Doxing attempts?
Doxing is a cyber-harassment after stealing your personal data

This method is particularly used by political activists from various horizons following exchanges on social networks.

They will try to find the identity of their interlocutor before integrating the employer in the exchanges in order to obtain a dismissal or to harm the victim.

The risks of doxing for their victims

  • Revelation of an identity deliberately hidden behind a nickname.
  • Bad buzz for the company.
  • Harassment by communities of activists and hate Internet users.
  • Attacks on family members.
  • Repossession of the real identity in online press articles.

Precautions to be taken on the internet

  • Use a unique nickname (not used elsewhere).
  • Create your social accounts with a non-nominative email and a disposable phone number.
  • No precise information in the biography of your account (city, employer, etc.).
  • Never divulge personal information that may be cross-referenced in your posts.

How to protect the theft of photos and videos on your smartphone?

The smartphone is an object that contains a lot of personal information. Many applications have access to this data (location, photos, numbers, etc.).

Assume that all the information on your smartphone can be accessed by third parties through the applications.

vol donnees smartophone personal data
protect your personal data on the internet

The risk of cell phone leaks

  • Data recovery (photos, videos, phone numbers…).
  • Dissemination of personal content.
  • Fraudulent use of the device.

Precautions to take with your smartphone

  • Configure a quick standby of the device.
  • Request a password when the smartphone comes out of standby.
  • Do not store any sensitive content on the device.
  • Install only trusted apps.
  • Use strong passwords.

Beware of sextorsions

The theft or sharing of intimate photos or videos on the internet increasingly gives rise to sextortion attempts by professional cyber crooks who set up blackmail in order to recover large sums of money.

How to avoid virus, trojan, adware?

Your computer is a wealth of information for a cybercriminal who could recover files from your hard drive. It is necessary to take care to secure your devices and use dedicated software.

protect your personal data on the internet

The risks of hacking

  • Access to sensitive information.
  • Password recovery.
  • Hacking of the email box.
  • Username / password recovery.

Precautions to be taken to avoid computer breaches / home computer threats

  • Use up-to-date antivirus.
  • Do not install questionable free software.
  • Install software from trusted companies.
  • Never open attachments sent by strangers.
  • Check attachments before opening them.

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