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  • Sohum Gupta

Are You Really Safe?

Have you ever opened your phone to be flooded with advertisements for a product you were looking for online just today? Or from places you recently visited? Coincidence? No! Data analysis and processing have developed significantly over the past decade and have emerged as a profitable business for tech giants. Every second app on your phone actively analyses your behaviour online, and uses it for their profit. Cookies on browsers pick up your activity and process advertisements specifically for you. No wonder the internet is able to provide such speedy and accurate suggestions! However, data analysis and targeted marketing are just the beginning…

Data breaches are a common occurrence resulting in billions of people's information being leaked to malicious entities for them to carry out scams and thefts online. I concur that technology has made our lives easier, giving us access to information and content from across the world, made communication easier, payments, and whatnot, but is our data safe online? Is our credit card safe on Amazon, PayPal, and Paytm? Is our address secure with Google, Microsoft, and Apple, or is it hanging, free for hackers to steal and misuse that information? Well, although our data is encrypted and safely stored on remote servers, with the same information stored across multiple servers owned by various companies, we as users are vulnerable to such data attacks. In 2017, over 130 million Aadhar card numbers associated with banking information were breached and hacked. Yahoo, Meta (Facebook), Zoom, Twitter, Microsoft, Air India, and Canva have dealt with data breaches in this decade itself! This data is then sold off in bulk to scammers and advertising agencies for them to target you with personalised ads. With all these online occurrences, we still use technology, and we cannot stop.

In this situation, it becomes essential to consider that every coin has two sides. On the positive one, the internet has made our lives safer, helped us manage a pandemic efficiently and has been an important key to the development of our civilization. On the flip side, data breaches are dangerous and impossible to control. However, what is in our control is our data. Limiting our online shopping to minimum, safe and reliable websites, only saving one credit card online, using only one app for UPI, and not providing unnecessary information are the main methods to keep ourselves safe. General awareness is necessary to avoid being scammed or hacked. We must walk the extra mile to organise our information and regularly update our passwords for,‘little things make a big difference’ and these little things could potentially save your life!

Be aware, connect with care.

Is a life without data even possible in the 21st century?

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