What threats to your privacy do you face online?

We take a look at two significant threats to your data privacy in today's online world, and suggest how you can avoid them.

What threats to your online privacy do you need to be aware of?

We talk a lot about the need to keep your data secure and protected, but it's worth taking a moment to consider what we're protecting it from. Here are two major concerns with online privacy today, and a look at possible ways to increase your safety.

Hacks and breaches

Yahoo's recent announcement that data from 500 million of their users was stolen in 2014 is just one of the latest examples of large companies falling victim to cybercrime. Hackers have long been the villains of the digital narrative, and this very much remains the case. Whether it's large companies that are hit, as in the Yahoo breach, or an individual who's targeted by an opportunist criminal, we all run the risk of hackers getting their hands on our data.

A good way to lock up your data and increase privacy is encryption.A good way to lock up your data and increase privacy is encryption.

Data mining and selling

Many large companies collect information on their customers, which they use to learn your habits and more effectively sell to you or people like you. Facebook is a good example of a company that collects a lot of information on its users, not just as individuals but as part of networks - those friend suggestions that the site gives you are, in part, a result of this complicated data mining.

When companies share or sell your data they make the decision about what you keep private.

This becomes a bigger issue when that information is shared with someone else, though, as WhatsApp recently announced it was doing with Facebook. You might trust the initial company that you give your personal information to, but that doesn't mean you trust who they then share that information with. When companies share or sell your data they take the decision about what you keep private out of your hands.

How you can protect yourself

As ever, vigilance and caution are best practice. Be aware of who could potentially see the information you put online, and decide whether you're okay with that. Think about your data like your valuables in the real world: Anything you leave out in the open can be seen by everyone, and grabbed by anyone who wants them. Things you keep in your house are more private, but still at risk from break-ins - especially if you don't bother locking your door.

A  good way to lock up that data and increase your privacy is encryption. The SafeSwiss app lets you send texts, calls, and data transfers via an encrypted connection that effectively creates a private network between the sender and the receiver. When you share your information with someone it should be your choice, rather than theirs. Try our free app today to give your data an extra barrier of privacy and protection.