How To Protect Your Data Privacy When Surfing From a Smartphone

In general terms, internet and data privacy is a concern for anyone who is planning to make an online money transaction, sign up to a social network, create accounts on mobile apps or play online games. When you commit any of these actions online, you need to consent to the company for storing and using your personal data. The data privacy aspects related to this is about your rights to control this information and how it’s used.

High-detail Personal Information

Some companies need to collect high-detail personal information in order to provide their full services to their users. Products or services requiring high-detail information are financial-related applications or websites where you carry out financial transactions.

One good example is playing at online casinos. If you want full access to services and use of the products an online casino offers you need to provide a lot of high-detail personal information. Normally you would be asked about Email, New Password, Name, and Surname, Street, City, Country, Date of Birth when signing up to a new online casino. This will give you access but before you have full use of all services offered in a casino, you need to provide a photo of your personal identification and a recent utility bill or payslip, these steps are part of a KYC process (Know Your Customer process) and AML (Anti-money Laundering) measurements.

These steps are not unique to one industry if you use any banking, fintech or internet wallet application such as PayTM. Basically, any service provider where you regularly carry out transactions of varying amounts will ask you for high-detail personal details at some point.

Data Breaches

Sensitive information you submit online or offline on your device can get stolen. Cybercriminals will harvest your personal data and sell your privacy on the dark web. If data is compromised or stolen it can be used for fraudulent and criminal activities. 

It’s very unlikely that this will happen but it does happen. Last year it was reported that a virus named Agent Smith virus had infested over 25 million mobile devices, 15 million of those were devices owned by Indian nationals. This particular virus disguises itself as a Google-related application. Unknowing users think the piece of malware is safe and agrees to install. The malware then exploits vulnerabilities in Android devices and replace installed apps with malicious versions.

Third-Party App Stores

Official stores like Apple App Store or Google Play are heavily regulated and the risks of malicious malware coming through these app stores are minimal. The big issue is third-party app stores. It’s not uncommon for Indian smartphone users to download modified versions of the app through these third-party stores. The most common types of apps hackers hide malware in is sex-related adult industry apps, games and photography apps. 

How You Can Minimize Risks of Data Being Stolen Directly From You

  • Phishing
  • Pharming
  • Malware
  • Spyware

All these are real and serious risks you take when you are surfing and downloading things on the internet. Phishing is an activity aimed at stealing your personal data. Pharming is the activity of hackers redirecting visitors trying to access a legitimate website. Spyware is software or code that is able to collect data even if you are offline, the data collected is then sent to the spyware source when you go online with your device. Malware is “traditional” viruses infecting your device such as trojans.

A great to protect yourself from Malware and Spyware is to install anti-virus programs. There are many free anti-virus programs for your computer and whether you are on an Android phone, iPhone or tablet you can protect yourself by installing anti-virus applications and run regular checks on your devices.

Risks of privacy violation can be minimized by using common sense, avoid opening links in strange emails, never provide personal or financial details for someone who asks about it, always use strong password combinations, avoid shopping in unreliable webshops, don’t reveal personal information to website with weak security, clear your cache and browser history regularly.

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