The global pandemic has drastically shifted our dependence on technology as our generation takes the shape of a digitalized world. According to a recent online survey we conducted, in partnership with Angus Reid, 78 percent of respondents said they have spent more time online since the onset of the pandemic. Remote work models, online shopping, binge watching shows, virtual payments and staying connected with loved ones, all revolve around our apps and devices. This intensified digital reliance is not likely to dissipate post-pandemic, and will continue to offer convenience and accessibility for users.
On January 28, we will celebrate global Data Privacy Day to promote the education and increased protections of safe data usage and personal privacy. Over the past two years, COVID-19 exposed a range of online vulnerabilities that has required the digital protection landscape to meet the challenges.
New year, new privacy measures
To highlight the ever-increasing urgency of digital privacy and the heightened need for greater awareness, the National Cybersecurity Alliance is expanding Data Privacy Day into a week-long awareness campaign called Data Privacy Week (January 24-28). As part of this, it is critical that individuals and organizations examine the personal data collection of potential partners when building relationships with new businesses. According to ProPrivacy.com, an alarming one percent of technology users read the terms and conditions of a contract riddled with irrelevant items and stipulations – 99 percent of us ‘blind click’ our acceptance to terms-of-use without any sense of the perils! Our survey with Angus Reid also found that while 61 percent of respondents said they think about the security of their digital identity when online, 54 percent have never actively looked for tools or solutions to help manage the security of their digital identity.
What consumers and businesses can do
With our lives intertwined with technology, there are a few points to consider and simple actions to take that can go a long way when protecting your data:
- Consider the types of personal information a service is asking for in comparison to what the service offers – is it a reasonable trade? Is giving a copy of all of your personal contacts in your address book a reasonable trade to post a selfie with a cool filter?
- Manage the privacy settings of your most important apps and services. Tighten the privacy settings down to minimal sharing for all features you are not using. Does any app really need to know your location ‘Always’?
- Use multi-factor authentication (MFA) when possible. While longer passwords with unique characters help in keeping user information safe, MFA is far more effective. MFA operates by requiring at least two verification factors to authenticate a user. The consequence of a stolen password can be effectively mitigated if the crooks must also have access to your phone.
While there are many precautions to take in ensuring your online data remains safe, looking into the information you share to access a service, managing your privacy settings and employing MFA when available will go a long way towards strong data privacy. Better solutions to strong identity are on the horizon, but until then, do what you can to protect yourself.
How to secure your digital identity
Accessing essential services online has been critical for citizens throughout the global pandemic and digital infrastructure should not go unappreciated.
At SecureKey, it is our mission to provide people with the convenient and accessible means of keeping their digital identities safe. To fulfill our mission and fend off cybercriminals, the development of next generation privacy-enhancing services must take place worldwide to revolutionize the way customers and organizations approach these digital identity challenges. Strong identity should be simple to use, accepted everywhere you go, and trustable – no negative surprises.
Take the first step in securing your digital identity this Data Privacy Day. To learn more, visit: securekey.com
About Eric Chiu
Eric Chiu, Information Security Manager, CISSP at SecureKey Technologies, has over 10 years of Information Security experience.