(File photo)

(File photo)

Things to keep in mind online

Living in a digital world has its perks.

It has never been easier to keep in touch with friends and family, whether they are down the street or across the world.

Thanks to connected devices such as smartphones, the information of the world rests at someone’s literal fingertips.

Unfortunately, for every positive there is a negative.

For International Virtual Private Network (VPN) Day on Aug. 19, researchers at NordVPN, an internet security company, released findings related to cybersecurity and online privacy which show that the general public still “have a lot to learn.”

According to NordVPN, 9 in 10 people know someone who has had their social media account hacked, with most of the cases occuring in the last year.

Making this especially problematic is, not only is social media useful for sharing cute cat videos amongst your friends but it is also “used for logging into other services” such as email accounts and payment platforms.

Further, according to NordVPN’s cybersecurity researchers, once hackers have access to your data they can make a killing with it on the dark web.

“NordVPN has analyzed a database of four million stolen payment card details that were found for sale on the dark web,” Says Daniel Markuson, a cybersecuirty expert at NordVPN.

“According to findings, the average cost for information relating to one card was $10. Criminals have earned $17.3 million on a single dark web market.”

Once sold, that data can be used for identity theft and fraud of other types.

According to further findings in the research, 85 per cent of people surveyed are concerned they will have their online presence compromised while travelling, particularly when using hotel Wi-Fi or public transport hotspots and a further 63 per cent of respondents are concerned that they are tracked by cybercriminals.

According to Markuson, the fact that so many people are concerned they are being tracked is a positive because people realize that internet use has associated risks which could lead people to take further precautions.

Markuson says exposure can be limited online by building strong internet habits. Recommendations include using strong passwords, not over-sharing on social media or clicking on links in emails or messages before assessing whether they are real or not can all make a difference in whether or not someone gets hacked.

“A few moments of carelessness is all a hacker might need to slip through our defenses.”

With people spending more and more time online, according to a study by NordVPN around one-third of our lives, the risks have never been greater. More and more of the services people use in their social lives, banking, work, and even medical history are being stored online giving hackers more and more targets of opportunity.

“Implementing good daily habits online is essential if we’re going to continue living our lives online,” says Markuson.

” … Update your passwords, run an antivirus scan or download a VPN. Every little bit counts.”

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