With so many cyberattacks happening in recent years, it’s important to know the dangers of the internet and what you can do to protect yourself from them. Most people tend to focus on the different ways that hackers are gaining access to information; however, there are also ways to use software to protect user data. There are three main types of protection software you can use: encryption, authentication, and anonymization.
Private data, such as personally identifiable information, has been an increasingly hot topic in recent years. A wave of new privacy regulations has swept across Europe and there are calls for similar laws in North America. The goal of most privacy rules is to ensure users have control over their own data and that they can reasonably expect it will be protected from unauthorized access. Many companies are also providing users with more tools to help protect their private data and prevent future breaches—although most businesses are still failing on these fronts.
How encryption is used to protect user data from hacks and attacks. To many people, encryption sounds like a way of keeping information locked away—just what you don’t want if you want it available when you need it. But encryption isn’t just about hiding data; it’s also an effective security method.
Why do we use encryption in computing? Data encryption, or simply encryption for short, is useful for three main reasons:
First, in case an attacker gets access to your computer (whether by stealing it or breaking into your network), they can’t access any of your files.
Second, if you lose a device with encrypted data on it, no one else will be able to read that data either.
Third, if you want to transfer sensitive information over a network like the Internet without worrying about eavesdroppers listening in, encryption is a great way to keep them out.
Some applications, such as your web browser, have security features built-in. Other programs that handle sensitive data need to be encrypted by other means. There are many types of encryption algorithms—some old and out-of-date (like DES), some new and experimental (like A5/3), but modern software designers tend to use AES encryption for both efficiency and a solid level of protection. Social media archiving is another security feature that companies can use to protect their data, social media archiving for government is the way governments protect their data. However, It’s definitely worth learning about how encryption works before trying to design an app or website that handles confidential information.
A web browser that anonymizes your web activity can help protect your user data. Most browsers already have some measure of anonymity, but there are certain add-ons you can use to further cover your tracks. Tools like AdBlock Plus and Ghostery will minimize your digital footprint by blocking or hiding unwanted ads, trackers, cookies, and other elements of websites that could compromise privacy. On top of that, they also block elements used in malware attacks.
If you want to truly keep your data safe, you need control over how and when it’s used. We’re living in a time where surveillance may be omnipresent, but you don’t have to be complicit. There are new technologies on their way that give users more control over their data and privacy. For example, blockchain technology can help people own their personal information and decide who gets access to what parts of it. In addition, zero-knowledge proofs (ZKPs) allow for transactions between parties without either party revealing any information about themselves or their transaction partners. While these solutions aren’t perfect—they do rely on encryption algorithms that could potentially be broken—they represent an important step forward for online security.