Shocking data from Kaspersky reveals that 38% of South African respondents that participated in their survey did not know what data about them is publicly available on the Internet.
The survey titled, Digital Superstitions is a startling display of how many are unaware of how their privacy is being infringed.
The data reveals tha, those who are aware about the availability of their personal information online, have actively tried to remove it from the web. However, 51% of respondents did not take any action. Among them, 12% are sure that it is impossible to remove information about themselves from the internet, 15% do not know how to do it.
Responses from South Africans who know what data is publicly available about them on the internet, the most frequently mentioned data types are full names (79%), personal photos (83%) and e-mail addresses (63%). Moreover, some have made their phone number (46%), place of work or study (35%) and addresses of residence or registration (34%) available online.
According to the information released by Kaspersky, the personal data may also have ended up online as a result of data leakages on a company’s side.
More than a third of the respondents (36%) are worried about such a possibility: they believe that they may run into trouble.
29% noted that they are only concerned about the possible leakage of bank card data. 18% are not worried at all and believe that their personal data cannot be used for harm.
Brandon Muller, tech expert and consultant for the MEA region at Kaspersky says: “Unfortunately, users often underestimate personal data protection, despite the fact that the leaked or stolen personal accounts are for identity theft.
Nevertheless, according to our survey, 18% of the respondents keep scans of passports and other confidential documents in correspondence in instant messengers and social networks.
You should not do this: under certain circumstances, attackers can steal such information.”
Muller shares that there is a simple way to check what other people can know about you from scratch and that is by typing your first and last name into an internet search engine that will then show you where your information is available online.
Kaspersky’s recommends the following security tips to ensure the protection of personal data:
- Do not store or post confidential information (phone number, passport scan, etc.) on social networks, including in correspondence.
- Share confidential data in encrypted form, for example in an archive with a password.
- Ensure your accounts are well protected: use strong and unique passwords for each service (from 12 characters with letters in different case, numbers and special characters), store them in password managers.
- Set up two-factor authorisation in those services that allow it.
- Use a reliable security solution like Kaspersky Premium – it will prevent you from finding yourself on a phishing site with the stolen personal or payment information.
- It is also crucial to constantly monitor a user’s credit score to determine if a fraudulent request
- was made to take out possible loans on stolen data.