Cyber Crimes,  Cyber Safety Tips,  Security Controls

Mitigating Cyber Risks – Information Disclosure on the Internet

Data is to cyber criminals what money is to bank robbers. So when it comes to preventing cyber crimes, one of the very first steps is preventing your data from getting out in the first place. We need to be careful how we disclose [personal] information on the internet because the less information there is about you online, the more protected you are against cyber attacks! This means you have to balance your personal information disclosure with your need for an online identity.

You may be wondering how in fact, does all this information get out? Your information gets revealed when you go on social sites, online shops, fill out forms, etc. This data is collected in categories with examples as shown on the table:

S/NPERSONAL INFOINTERCONNECTIONSBANKING/FINANCIAL INFOAUTHENTICATION DETAILS
1.Full NameWork Details (Company Name, Address, Colleagues, etc)Credit/Debit Card DetailsUsernames/Screen Names/Aliases
2.Email AddressFamily MembersBank Account NumbersPasswords/Pass-codes
3.Home AddressDependentsBVN (For Nigerians)Email Addresses
4.Date of BirthSpouses/PartnersSort CodesBio-metric Data
5.Ethnicity/Race/GenderFriends/Associates Security Tokens (Hard & Soft)
6.National ID Number  Cookies
7.Social Security Number  Encryption keys
8.Passport Number   
9.Driver’s License Number   
10.Disability Information   
11.Mother’s Maiden Name   
12.Insurance Details   
13.Salary/Net Worth   
14.GPS Information   
15.Anything Commercially Sensitive   
Categories of Sensitive Data/Information

With this new information you’ve got, How much personal information have you just realized you’ve been freely doling out freely? On a scale of 1 – 10.

Anywho, given the way the world is set up now, one can barely avoid having their data online. The trick then is to keep certain things in mind when providing this information. Here are some of the considerations:

1. WHO CAN ULTIMATELY ACCESS THE INFORMATION YOU PROVIDE?

You might think its just your friends, or the organization you’re disclosing to, or just the social site. But they can pass the information on to other parties.

2. WHO CONTROLS AND/OR OWNS THE INFORMATION YOU’RE DISCLOSING?

Did/Do you know that some of the sites you use own all the information you publish? Well, now you do.

3. CAN THE INFORMATION EVER BE TAKEN BACK, OR TAKEN DOWN AFTER DISCLOSURE?

The answer is most likely NO. Because other sites and services archive the internet, so even when data is taken down, it’s usually still stored up someplace.

4. DO YOU PERFORM ACTIVITIES ONLINE THAT LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES HAVE LAWS AGAINST?

5. ARE YOU COMFORTABLE THAT YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE CREATES A PROFILE OF YOU THAT CAN BE ACCESSED BY ANYONE?

6. DO YOU HAVE DISTINCTLY PRIVATE ACTIVITIES THAT YOU DON’T WANT ASSOCIATED WITH YOUR REAL IDENTITY?

7. WILL THE INFORMATION YOU DISCLOSE LEAD TO THE TARGETING OF YOUR FRIENDS & FAMILY MEMBERS BY ADVERSARIES?

So, which of these questions have you second-guessing your online activities? Talk to me in the comments…

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