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What is Digital Privacy & Online Safety?
  • Last Updated : 17 Jul, 2020

Communication has been a necessary factor for human development. In this Digital Age, we use digital means for communicating like wireless calling through mobile networks, VoIP, and social media like Facebook, WhatsApp, Skype, and many other platforms. But are we secure? Are we following the best privacy practices? Are the company services we use are well maintained by those companies? The Answer is Maybe (or) Maybe Not. This article will share with you a few practices for Digital Privacy and Safety practices. 

What is Digital Privacy?

Privacy is a word describing the condition of being free from being observed. Digital privacy is the lack of personal identification in the digital world and the internet.

What is Online Safety?

Safety is the condition of being safe from getting to hurt or loss. Online Safety is a few practices that we take in the digital world to keep us and our information safe from malicious use. 

Difference between Privacy and Safety?

Many people think that privacy and safety in this digital presence are the same but it is a misconception. Privacy is a subset of safety. Let’s think of a situation that you are around some friends in a locked room, you are safe inside but not private. 

What Comes First?

Safety comes before confidentiality because we might share some confidential information for a few services, but we make sure they are safe with our service provider. Let’s take GeeksforGeeks as an example when users signup people would be asked for Name, Contact Information, and Education. These details are optional which is a Confidentiality practice but better usage of website people give those details, but we have to make sure they are safe with them and GeeksforGeeks will always keep user’s information safe and private. 

Types Of Security Breach in Digital World


Phishing is a fraudulent attempt to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, personal information, and credit card details by disguising oneself as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. For example, let us think that you like cars and you got a link(malicious link) in a digital medium(like WhatsApp) from an unknown person(attacker/hacker) which disguises as a person you know stating that that is a Facebook page related to cars. You click on it and its like any other Facebook page and you want to like the page on Facebook then obviously you have to log in to Facebook. You Log in with your credentials. This goes on two ways either you will get nothing after you log in or you will like the page and close it. In either case, you will lose your credentials to the hacker if it is a malicious link. 

How can we identify malicious links? 
Normally in case of malicious links, they mostly redirect to an IP address rather than a domain name. This difference you can find it in the browser search bar and you will also not get an SSL certificate(this is not necessary but most cases). 

Phishing can be done through the following ways:  

  • Email
  • WhatsApp Messenger, Facebook
  • Shopping and e-commerce and many other trust-worthy sites too.

Social Engineering

Social engineering is a Psychology Hacking attack mainly focusing on human trust rather than completely concentrating on the technical aspects. In simple terms, Social Engineering is a process where the attacker gains the belief of a victim. There is a popular tool for social engineering called SET(social engineering toolkit). This tool has all the major methods and techniques for an attacker to use SE on the victim.

How can we get secure for this attack?

First, we have to understand social engineering is a psychological attack rather than a technical attack. So keeping awareness on this subject will help us to face this attack most of the time. It’s all based on Your trust in the other person.

Malicious Code Execution

Even I used a new terminology the malicious codes I am talking about a computer virus, spyware, Trojan horses, malware, ransomware etc. Nowadays they have become common uses in this Internet world. Some examples are:

  1. Ransomware- WannaCry
  2. Worm- Stuxnet
  3. Virus- ILOVEYOU

How can we be secured from those malicious programs?

Using real-time antivirus programs and malware blockers and other security and anti-tracking programs can be used to prevent those attacks. Always be aware of the programs and files you download from the web

What is Confidentiality?

Privacy is as necessary as our safety in this online world. Nowadays many tech companies like Facebook, Google are neglecting user’s data and privacy. Due to their negligence hackers and attackers and other party people are easily accessing those data and are trying to sell it in the darknet or misuse the data for their own benefits. Even worse people are getting phished, with that data few companies are remaking our digital profile and understand our opinions to promote Ads, Services, biasing on our options, and more. You can have look at the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica case study.

How can we be private in this online world?

  1. Keep a track on data and personal information you provide to a service (or) a social media platform
  2. Make sure you follow the Privacy practices on the social media platform. Regularly change your passwords.
  3. Don’t post everything on social media. Social Media are to share your happy and fine moments not everything
  4. Regularly review your data, once in 3 months, and whom your service provider and social media platform the data has been shared.
  5. You can use privacy respecting alternatives like DuckDuckGo instead of Google, Firefox- Chrome, and more.
  6. Keep your Contact Information as confidential as possible.
  7. While installing apps on your mobile devices take a look into their permissions and make sure you give minimal permissions as possible.
  8. Use encryption to store data securely both on your mobile and remote cloud data stores.
  9. Keep a track on kid’s Internet usage and restrict their use as they are easily tricked.

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