In the previous two decades, India witnessed a huge technological boom, unparallel to anything we’ve ever seen before. The amount of smartphone users climbed from less than 250 million to over 350 million in just two decades. The significant catalyst for this enormous technological stride was definitely the demonetisation and government’s push towards Digital India. Coupled with all the Reliance Jio 4G revolution, that has brought down the price of accessing high-speed internet, India has grown into the world’s second largest digital industry.
But what we do not realise is that there is a downside to all this, digital security has now turned into a serious talking point after waves of ransomware attacks this past year. Plus it is essential that each and every one of us, must be vigilant and take steps to protect our online lives.
According to Symantec’s international VP Gavin Lowth said “due to the speed of digital transition that occurred in India, people now are just starting to realize the huge benefits. However, what they aren’t realizing is that larger trade-off they’re making for this new found convenience.”
He asks us to make direct comparisons with our digital and real lives, as and “advises to consider yourselves a digital citizen, and to think about the footprint that leaves across the internet.” If it comes to security, this digital footprint as harmful as a true physical footprint you depart on a street.
So here are just four major locations, that the cybersecurity veteran Lowth asks everyone to focus in order to de-risk our digital lives.
We carry a minumum of one smartphone in our pocket, a laptop in our luggage, and in the event of some, a smartwatch on the wrist. Lowth asks us to think of our devices and the amount of information it has on it. “Our devices these days are carrying tremendous amount private information, from phone numbers to credit cards details to photos of your family members. The biggest mistake anyone can make is not seeing these as a very precious piece of information”, points Lowth.
The staggering growth of digital payment services and UPI based apps, has led to our important financial information like banking details being stored on our smartphones.
One way to minimize this risk is by being very mindful of the information your devices carry. So that in a situation of theft or hack, your personal security and wellbeing won’t get compromised. Protecting your phone with a strong password or with biometric technologies such as fingerprint or iris scanner is the first step. Additionally one should never install applications outside PlayStore or App Store, or open links and attachments sent from unknown sources.
Our devices, from smartphone to laptops, are constantly connected to the internet. This essentially means that these devices are receiving and sending information, whether you surf the internet or flow a movie.
Lowth points out that we should ever discount the information coming and going from our devices. Monitoring the apps and services which are causing significant data drains is an important thing to do. Be observant about the permissions and access that we give to each program on our phones.
Additionally, stay away from connecting to unsecured or public Wi-Fi programs as the providers can pry to the information traffic out of your devices. However, if you need to use a public wifi, use it with a VPN service to remain safe.
Our identity is precious. Unfortunately, in the digital age, our identity boils right down to few social network reports, emails ids, passwords and data associated biometric information authorities collected- making it easily compromisable.
“We have to think about our identity as a digital citizen, given the amount of information about us which is stored online, in different places around the internet, and the way to protect and monitor it,” says Lowth.
Using two-factor authentication is a must to protecting our identity, and the degree of private and confidential information we discuss on social networks. Importantly, it’s time to take charge of privacy settings in the social networks and other services we always use.
When we say about protecting our home, it isn’t about having a stronger gate or door., however, the devices inside your home that holds valuable information.
We’re not just talking about smartphones and computers, however, the entire variety of linked electronic devices out of a security camera to smart TV. In fact, Gavin Lowth points out that the massive denial of service attack that took down many prominent online services a year past was based on Chinese manufactured IP cameras. The last but most important piece of digital security is making sure you don’t have any exposed devices, weather your home is smart home or not