What is Data Protection and Why is it Important?

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Data protection is the task of keeping our personal, financial, and health-related information safe. Negligence in protecting our “personally identifiable information or PII,” “personal health information or PHI,” and “social security number or SSN” will lead to various misuse risks. Leakage of this vital information might lead to different kinds of frauds for which the original owner of the information will be held liable. 

Why is Data Protection Important? 
Every individual should protect personal data for their safety and protect their family from the risk of overexposure. 

Businesses should protect their customer and employee data and critical business secrets. They should do it to maintain their reputation, stay ahead of their competitors and safeguard the trust their customers have in them. 
Government should protect the core data regarding its schemes, national security, etc. It is a basic form of data protection as leakage of data from the government might lead to various loopholes compromising national security.
 
Different types of Data Frauds
Failing to protect the data adequately will lead to various kinds of risks: 
Theft: Too much exposure on social media is always dangerous. A famous YouTuber, preaching about the Law of Attraction technique, did a detailed home tour showing all his valuables in the home. He prominently featured his million-dollar worth high-class watch collection encased in a fancy glass cabinet. Thugs watched his videos and stole his entire collection when he was out of the house meeting the fans. Avoid oversharing personal data, which highly compromises personal security. 

Identity Theft: Collecting a person’s complete identity details, including their PII and SSN, leads to various risks from creating a new driving license using the false identity, buying property using the identity, etc. Recently the police arrested a notorious thief in India who bought and sold properties using various false identities. All the related taxes got billed to the respected people whose identities he stole while the thief amassed over $12 million with no substantial proof against him. 

Credit Card Frauds: This is the most common fraud where the stolen credit card details are used in a different timeline to purchase goods for thousands of dollars. By the time the actual owner of the credit card realizes his card got overbilled, the thieves would have surpassed the card limit and erased all traces of them.

Loan Thefts: Using the fake identity to get loans under a different person’s name who has a stable credit score. 

Passport Duplication: Grabbing passport details and using them to create fake passports to make the unwanted people enter the country. 

Phishing Campaigns: Kong from China got arrested for making over 2 million dollars in the past four months selling saline and mineral water. He claimed it to be a Covid-19 vaccine specially sourced from the Wuhan laboratory, and made several people fly to Nepal to buy the cure. His targeted Phishing campaign emailed health frenzy people with high spending capacity precisely and lured them with “authentic” reviews about his product published in various legitimate places online. 

How to Get Protected from A Data Breach? 
Financial Frauds: Notify your bank and the three major credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, if you are sure your personal details have got stolen. Notify the various banks that issued your credit cards with a precise time of theft. 

Send a request to the credit bureaus regarding your identity theft and place a “fraud alert” on the account. It will prevent hackers from using your identity to open new accounts to get a loan.

Precautionary Dating: Never disclose too much of your information on dating sites. These sites ask for everything from your private interest to intimate personal details on the pretext of finding you the perfect partner. The person you interact with online might not be the one you expect them to be. A survey says nearly 36% of people use fake IDs, ages, and photos in dating apps to connect with legitimate people. 

The US Government insisted that every dating site and matrimonial site list ID verified accounts for safe usage. The stolen personal data helps get the fake account verified and spam some other innocent man or woman. You can use Nuwber to check if the person’s identity is real before connecting with them via the dating apps. 

Legitimate Subscriptions:
1. Do not subscribe to every blog that promises you a free e-book download.
2. Check the domain authority of the blog, or YouTube channel, check for reviews and go through their actual contents.
3. Subscribe only to blogs, video channels, and other services running steadily for a few years and having a decent number of subscribers. 

The data you give them will get sold to various other companies, which will track your area of interest, the kind of blogs you read, videos you watch, etc. The hackers will collect core information regarding your primary email account, address, and card details if it is a paid subscription. 

Safe Shopping:
1. Always try to buy only through legitimate e-commerce websites with an HTTPS extension.
2. Use a secure firewall in your computer that warns if you try to enter a website or an eCommerce site without proper SSL protection.
3. Always use masking plugins like Blur or JQuery, which do not give real credit card information access even if your data gets hacked.
These plugins create an encrypted number and CVV for the actual data you give, and it is pretty hard for hackers to track them. 
4. While shopping online, ensure you log out properly and keep your Wishlist and profile private. 
5. Ensure your Amazon profile settings are not set to public and change it to private to prevent scores of marketers targeting your inbox with products similar to something you browsed a few days back. 
6. Also, use plugins like “Privacy Badger” to prevent cookies from various websites from tracking your browsing history constantly. 

Conclusion 
Data protection is the process of keeping our personal information safe without disclosing it to dangerous strangers. Data protection is crucial because it might lead to a plethora of frauds and risks to the victims. Monetary loss plus targeted phishing campaigns, and business reputation compromise are a few of the associated dangers. Stay alert and take high precautionary measures to escape the ever-lurking threat of data breach. 

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