Leaked personal data of Internet users regularly appear on the web. Dmitry Galov, cybersecurity specialist at Kaspersky Lab, tells how to prevent the same thing from happening to you.
Taping the camera won't help much, says cybersecurity expert Dmitry Galov. Yes, it is true that intruders can get a recording from the camera and listen to the microphone, but such cases are rare. The most effective way to combat surveillance is to closely monitor which applications have access to the microphone and camera. For example, if the "Flashlight" app requests access, you should be wary: fraudsters often create simple apps that then ask the user for access to various data. And to protect yourself from spyware Trojans, you need to install security software: it will signal you if something is wrong. Browsers have an "Incognito" mode, but it can only protect against those who have physical access to the computer. This mode is not able to protect against various malware. As for saving your password in the browser, it is not quite safe. The best option would be to use password storage programs that have a master password. For example, for macOS and iOS it would be Keychain.
There is also such a thing as a "digital footprint". It is "a collection of certain actions or data of a user on the Internet. Even if you ask online services to remove information known about you, there will still be resources where it is impossible or very difficult to do so (caching services, "gray sites" or dead sites).
Another question is about anonymity. The specialist stresses that even a VPN cannot guarantee 100% anonymity. There is still a possibility that your data will be on the Internet, and this applies to all programs that help ensure anonymity.
Using a pseudonym on the Internet may not always protect you from cybercriminals, either. And when buying airline tickets or concert tickets, it is still necessary to enter your real name. It is safer to use a separate e-mail address and a separate phone number to register with unverified services. Also, as the expert warned, the personal data is actually leaked and sold a lot. In 2020, 100 million units of personal data of Russian residents appeared on the Internet. It is very important, added Dmitry Galov, to choose the right passwords (more than 12 characters, with numbers, special characters, lowercase and uppercase letters), to use two-factor authorization. Also, do not click on strange links, do not send bank card information over an unsecured connection. And the last fact - if the data got into the network by intruders, it is almost impossible to erase them from there. That's why you should not upload personal data and photos to available file sharing sites, and when transferring it to another person, it is better to send this information in an archive with a password.