Throughout 2019, India witnessed a slew of data breaches that made headlines, ranging from theft of bank account credentials, personally identifiable information, medical data and sensitive enterprise data. On the occasion of International Data Privacy Day observed on 28th January, below is a quote on behalf of Venkat Krishnapur, Vice-President of Engineering and Managing Director, McAfee India, emphasising the importance of being cognizant of one’s private data, and its security in a data driven world.
“The more technology we adopt in our lives, the more our privacy seems to slip away. The irresistible urge to share everything we do on social channels is actively providing an expanse of unnecessary information about our personal lives to everyone out there. Online advertisers and marketers are using “supercookies” to relay information about you and your web browsing habits. While mobile apps implement permission-based models to protect access to personal user data, parallelly, they can bypass these permissions to gain access to sensitive user data without consent.
There’s little doubt that the digital world provides speed, convenience and time-efficiency for a better consumer experience. However, as companies collect more and more customer data and with third parties desperate for the said data, we run the risk of handing over our sensitive personal information to cyber criminals. Data has now become a commodity for organisations that look to monetize it by selling it to advertisers.
This Data Privacy Day is a stark reminder of the importance of managing our digital footprint, encouraging safe online practices and raising awareness about the need for data privacy. Privacy and security complement each other. People need to take control of their data by exercising privacy controls on all devices and accounts. As a rule, only download apps from a trustworthy source and only give apps and services the permissions they absolutely need to function. In addition, it is best to avoid using the same password for multiple accounts, because if one account is compromised in a data breach, all accounts using the password are vulnerable. While transparency may seem to be the current fad, users must recognize the potential for data to be misused and limit the amount of information shared on social media. While India’s Personal Data Protection Bill is step in the right direction to empower consumers, the onus lies equally on the users to be aware, informed and vigilant about how their data is being harnessed.” - Venkat Krishnapur, Vice-President of Engineering and Managing Director, McAfee India.