According to a recent survey by Kaspersky called Digital Superstitions, a fourth (40%) of respondents from KSA do not know what data about them is publicly available on the Internet.
For those who recognized and are aware about their own personal information being available online, the survey showed that some have even tried to completely remove it from the Web. However, almost half of them (49%) did not take any actions. Among them,17% are sure that it is impossible to remove information about themselves from the Internet, while 9% do not know how to do it.
According to those respondents from KSA who know what data about them is publicly available on the Internet, the most frequently mentioned data types are full names (77%), personal photos (54%) and e-mail addresses (49%). Moreover, some people let their personal phone number (53%), place of work or study (39%) and address of residence or registration (55%) be openly available online.
However, it is also possible for personal data to end up online due to data breaches and data leakages on a company’s side. More than a quarter of the respondents (39%) are worried about such a possibility: they believe that they may run into trouble. 10% noted that they are only concerned about the possible leakage of bank card data. Over a third of respondents (34%) are not worried at all and believe that their personal data cannot be used for harm.
“Unfortunately, users often underestimate personal data protection, despite that the leaked or stolen data can be used by cybercriminals in their fraudulent purposes – they can sell it, use it to hack personal accounts or for identity theft. Nevertheless, according to our survey, 48% of the respondents keep scans of passports and other confidential documents in correspondence in instant messengers, email inbox and social networks. You should not do this: under certain circumstances, attackers can steal such information,” comments Maher Yamout, Senior Security Researcher, Global Research & Analysis Team at Kaspersky. “There’s a simple basic test – to check what other people can know about you from scratch, type your first and last name between quotes in the Internet search engine and analyse the results”.
To ensure personal data is protected properly, Kaspersky recommends following these security tips:
- Do not store or post confidential information (phone number, passport scan, etc.) on social networks, including in correspondence.
- Share confidential data in encrypted form, for example in an archive with a password.
- Ensure your accounts are well protected: use strong and unique passwords for each service (from 12 characters with letters in different case, numbers and special characters), store them in password managers.
- Set up two-factor authentication in those services that allow it.
- Use a reliable security solution like Kaspersky Premium – it will prevent you from finding yourself on a phishing site with the stolen personal or payment information.