Protecting our privacy used to be as simple as rolling down the blinds, but how that we live much of our lives online, the game has changed. We spend an average of 6.5 hours a day using the internet, meaning it is important, now more than ever to understand how your online privacy may be compromised. The ambiguity that surrounds this topic, you may have a false sense of online privacy. We have selected 7 shocking facts that will change the way you think about your online privacy, and we are giving you 7 ways you can strengthen it, today.
1. Smart speakers are listening and recording when you don’t even realize.
According to North Eastern University, smart speakers accidentally activate up to 19 times a day, recording up to 43 seconds - adding up to 14 minutes every day. This means that they are recording you frequently, without you noticing. Most of us keep our smart speakers in private spaces like our bedrooms, so your speaker has likely captured private moments like a call with your doctor or a financial argument with your spouse.
2. Social platforms are not free – you are paying with your privacy.
Social media platforms make the majority of their revenue by allowing brands to advertise to you. These channels generate 34 billion dollars per year by learning more about you and send you targeted advertisements. To do so, they monitor your activity inside and outside of their platform to try and figure out your personality, interests, age, sexual orientation, shopping habits, and just about everything else you can think of. Don’t be fooled, they are in your pockets one way or another.
3. Data breaches are no joke, and they happen all the time.
A data breach is when a company’s cyber security is compromised without authorization, putting the data of their customers in the wrong hands. In 2020 alone, there were 1001 data breaches, exposing more than 155 million sensitive records just in the United States alone. “Sensitive records” ranges from your contact information (your email, home address, phone number), to your passwords, birth date, and even your health records.
4. Your voice assistant recordings are sometimes listened to by human employees.
Did you know that some companies have employees listen to your voice assistant recordings? They use these recordings to teach their technology more about you: how to recognize your voice better, deliver personalized advertisements, and give correct responses to your commands. That may not bother you if they only record when you are intentionally using your device, but we know from fact #1, our devices are accidentally activated multiple times throughout the day.
To learn more about voice assistants, read our article Inside the minds of voice assistants
5. 77% of companies do not have a plan for cybersecurity incidences.
We may assume that companies make protecting our personal data a high priority, but the reality is that 77% of companies are underprepared for cybersecurity incidences. This is especially shocking considering 54% of businesses have experienced a breach in the last year. Therefore, it is up to you to protect yourself, and take control of your security and privacy.
6. There's a whole industry that is centred around buying and selling your data.
Data brokers are companies who collect information that is public online and resell it to other companies for marketing. This is because companies want to know as much information as possible about their customers so they can create and send targeted and cost-efficient advertising to you. Your information is very valuable to businesses ($89 on average for a single email), making this a whopping 200-billion-dollar industry.
7. On average, hackers attack computers every 39 seconds.
According to a study conducted at the University of Maryland, computers connected to the internet are attacked by hackers every 39 seconds on average. They found that hackers essentially run automated scripts, attempting commonly used usernames and passwords to gain access to computers. It’s probably time to change your password from “qwerty123” or “password”.
It is up to you to act on any discomfort you may be feeling about your online privacy. Luckily, it does not have to be hard. We have put together 7 tips for you, so that you can start improving your online privacy, today. Click on the link below to download our checklist.