Data theft and cybersecurity are some of the most pertinent issues that tech giants such as Facebook have had to face in the recent past. Prior to the 2016 US elections, it was alleged that a data analyst firm Cambridge Analytica was involved with data harvesting from Facebook. The data said to be harvested was for people's likes, friends, and pictures to help the firm analyze and help steer people's opinion and influence the election of that year.
A lot has happened since. For instance, Facebook has come out with a few security tools such as off-Facebook activity (shall be discussed later in the article). Cambridge Analytica was just one example of an application that could get free access to your social network data and use it to shape the social and commercial space. Subsequently, your data on say Google – like the search history, can be sent to Facebook to help customize adverts they send you. It also good to look at what others have to say about Facebook weekly. Here is how you can control your private data apps.
When it comes to data control, Off-Facebook activity needs attention. There are high chances that whenever you log in to any site online, it captures some of your data. This data can be shared widely from one application to another. Mostly it, however, ends up with Facebook or Instagram for purposes of advertisement. Major corporations invest heavily in pushing their brands and products online through influencers and application ads. The data an app like Facebook gets is used to trim personalize the data you get individually. For instance, say you went searching about the best laptop brand on the website; you may end up getting an advertisement on laptops in your Facebook timeline. Facebook pixel is an online spy which tracks some of the activity you have online, especially those sites you have linked with Facebook.
Therefore, the social tech giant released a security feature known as the off-Facebook activity that helps the users to monitor the data other applications and websites share with it about them. As the user, you are at liberty to disconnect this data from your account; however, Facebook will still receive your data from its partners, it’s just that it will not be displayed on your timeline. To dig into the details you can use private searching on Chrome, and learn how the data will be mined.
You can access this tool on your mobile phone or on the desktop. It can be activated on the settings then scroll down until you find the off-Facebook activity icon. Another remedy is to delete your search history online to avoid the sites from sharing it along.
Well, there are several ways you can apply to protect your identity or avoid being spied on. However, there is no way to know for sure that you are out of danger to get into crossfires with spyware online. With an ever-growing technology and social space, it is unfortunate that once you join the online society, you give away your power to control your private space.
Generally, since apps are not so trustworthy with protecting their client’s data, these are some of the top tips on how you can protect your private data from being accessed by malicious applications.
Manage your Passwords
The best password range is always eight digits and above while mixing characters, special digits, and different fonts. Sometimes, having numerous accounts with such a complex password may have its downside since you may forget. This is where a data management system comes in. Usually, chrome and other browsers ask you to store your passwords usernames to numerous accounts with them. However, seasoned data security consultants disagree with this. Instead, they recommend you to store your login credentials to sites and apps in password managers, which contain stringent security measures meant to keep away any spyware. They store your information in a series of layers in encryption such that decoding the encryptions will not be so easy for third-party sources to access it.
Avoid Public Wi-Fi Networks
Well, this is almost like asking you not to eat. Public Wi-Fi networks are the most vulnerable networks that hackers use to get unsuspecting users to steal their data and potentially rob them. The temptation of logging into a café Wi-Fi network for a short time just to refresh your feeds may prove to be costly later on when you realize that your data has been stolen and used to do something despicable. It should be clear to you that you may never know where your data lands. Yes, it may be shared with other apps, but whatever the information may be used to do, no one knows.
There are two ways you can avoid such traps. One is obviously steering clear of untrustworthy networks. The other method is to use a secured virtual private network (VPN) whenever using public Wi-Fi. Generally, when surfing, you should prevent censoring and filtering.
Manage App Permissions
This is one of the most efficient ways to filter out malicious applications on your phone. For instance, if you download, say an app to organize your notes, and you notice the app is asking permission to access say contacts, and then it should raise a red flag about the trustworthiness of the app.
You should never grant app permissions randomly. Other than monitoring data and security, you may also use this feature to preserve your phone operation. For example, some apps run in the background after you install them. This is unsustainable to the battery over time.
Limit Your Exposure to Social Media
Generally speaking, you are never that safe on social media. You may not be online, but as much as you appear on someone else's profile, even a friend, your information can easily be accessed. And depending on what you share on those platforms, you may be very vulnerable to these sites. Also, while creating an account, fill out as little information as possible to limit the extent of damage when the risk occurs. There are instances when people's identities have been used in crimes without their knowledge.
The Bottom Line
It is healthy to exercise caution while using the online space, whether socially or for business purposes. Always download applications from trusted sources such as Google play store and apple’s app store. Also, you should ensure you frequently update your application as well as your phone’s security system.