Data protection does more than solely prevent the theft of social media accounts. Acting as a first line of defense against financial fraud and identify theft, the appropriate cybersecurity measures can help you avoid years of headaches.
At its essence, data protection is no singular solution; it is a range of protocols leveraged by both individuals and organizations, constantly evolving to address emerging threats from technological advancement. In many respects, technology makes our lives easier by enhancing our ability to communicate, both personally and professionally, and automating previously laborious tasks. However, the evolution of archaic processes has led to a plethora of unforeseen threats, just as an increase in wealth can increase one’s vulnerability to theft. That’s why data protection should be a high priority, but first it's important to understand how your data is used.
All internet users should be familiar with privacy policies. They often appear when consumers sign up for online services or create profiles on mobile applications. At their core, privacy policies explain how a business uses your personal information as well as how they intend to protect it.
While they should be quick, easy reads intended to facilitate understanding irrespective of education level, most privacy policies take roughly 18 minutes to read and require a college-level reading ability, according to a past New York Times analysis of 150 privacy policies.1
Privacy policies should answer these basic questions:
• What personal information is being collected?
• Why is the information collected?
• How is the information used?
• Who will have access to the information?
• What choices do you have?
• Can you review or correct your personal information?
• What security measures are being taken to protect your personal information?
• Who is accountable for the organization's privacy practices?
If the business does not have a written policy, it is best to avoid further interaction and look for another vendor. Additionally, it can be helpful to understand how an organization’s website uses data collection software.
Cookies are files created by websites to track visitor activity. They save browsing information to remember site preferences and tailor locally relevant content. These files are categorized in two distinct buckets: first-party cookies and third-party cookies.
First-party cookies are set by the site the user visits. Websites collect first-party cookies to gather analytics data, such as page views and number of users, as well as information like shopping cart settings and login information. Only the website that created the first-party cookies has access to them.
On the other hand, third-party cookies are set by domains not directly visited by the user and store information for the purpose of ad targeting. They live on third-party web features like chatbots, social media plugins and advertisements, and collect data from search inquiries, social media pages and general online activity.
The key is to avoid illegitimate websites, which use personal information for unintended purposes. Basic preventative measures include not using public computers to access personal information, disabling the storage of cookies on internet browsers, using browser add-ons that block third-party cookie trackers, and installing anti-malware software. Lastly, if a website seems inauthentic and requests you accept cookies, leave it immediately.
When it comes to implementing a comprehensive set of tools to protect data, look no further than the CIA triad. The acronym stands for confidentiality, integrity and availability. Developed to provide guidance on best practices for information security, it has been a guiding light for organizations for quite some time.
Each of the three components are defined as follows:
• Confidentiality limits access to modify data to authorized personnel.
• Integrity bolsters data trustworthiness, assuring it’s in the correct state and can’t be improperly altered.
• Availability ensures data can be accessed by authorized personnel whenever necessary.
For any technology that works with sensitive data, the CIA triad can be applied to its overall functionality. Institutionally, this can range from running a payroll database to protecting the personal information of eCommerce customers. Individually, it can be found everywhere from digital banking to online medical portals.
A proper evaluation of privacy policies, a thorough understanding of cookies, and the CIA triad can go a long way in preventing the mismanagement of data. Taken together, they can reduce the probability that you will fall victim to financial fraud or identity theft.
BNY Mellon is committed to protecting your data and account information. BNY Mellon’s Enterprise Resiliency Office works in coordination with our digital and technology teams to deliver timely and effective incident identification, assessment, escalation, communication and resolution. This is done with the goal of providing clients with superior service as well as world-class products and services.
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