Five worthy reads is a regular column on five noteworthy items we’ve discovered while researching trending and timeless topics. This week, we unravel the secrets to internet security.

Data security begins at home

The millennial equivalent to the adage “charity begins at home” would probably be “online security begins at home.” By home, I mean the internet—the primary source of your average netizen’s entertainment and knowledge. The advantages of the internet certainly outweigh its downsides, but it’s important that these downsides don’t become reasons to stop going online for good.

One area of concern is cyberattacks, since attackers don’t always prey on data directly. Most of the time, their vantage point is people—individuals who’d fall into traps like keylogging, phishing links, social engineering, or exploring the deep web unprotected. While enterprises can leverage various solutions and strategies to strengthen their IT security perimeters, it is often human error that leads to large-scale breaches.

The average netizen’s online security practices—or lack thereof—affect those in their shared networking space. That being said, it’s wise to know certain security hygiene best practices and follow them while online. Now, this doesn’t translate to hosting a massive firewall or IDS/IPS at home; smaller actions such as regularly applying security updates and scrutinizing potentially malicious links, emails, and Wi-Fi connections can all make a huge difference in the long run. Not only that, but enabling two-factor authentication plays a vital role when accounts do become compromised.

Let’s check out some interesting reads that help us understand and employ effective data security practices:

  1. Do you know how much private information you give away every day?
    You’ve probably heard the warnings. Yet there you are: Scrolling frantically through an app’s Terms of Service‘s pages for a glaring reason to not share your email or birth date—or, perhaps, more likely, skipping right past it all and clicking “Agree.”

  1. Understanding the economic value of your personal data
    Your personal data is worthless–it’s only when it’s processed by the Facebooks or Googles of this world that it has business value.

  1. Data Protection Tips: How to Keep Your Passwords, Financial & Personal Information Safe
    Keeping your passwords, financial info, and other personal information safe and protected from outside intruders has long been a priority of businesses, but it’s becoming increasingly critical for consumers and individuals to heed data protection advice and use sound practices to keep your personal information safe and secure.

  1. What personal data backup practices are best?
    Is your personal data secure? Backup best practices for consumers include regularly backing up data and taking advantage of different types of storage media.

  1. Internet Security 101: A starter guide to avoid being an idiot online
    Arguing that you don’t care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say. – Edward Snowden

With the advent of stringent data privacy laws like the GDPR, we as consumers now have an edge in controlling how our data is used. However, we should still regulate the amount of personal data that we share online, especially on social media and e-commerce sites. I mean, we wouldn’t have to worry about our sensitive data—like our interests, religion, or sexual orientation—being sold to advertisers and data processors if we didn’t share that personal data online in the first place, right?  

As you can see, internet security indeed begins at home. So, the first step towards security is to educate ourselves and everyone around us about the significance of data privacy, gauge our data sharing requirements, and identify the repercussions of losing that data.