The National Privacy Test by NordVPN, which was taken by more than 48,000 respondents from 192 countries, has shown that people around the globe have good theoretical knowledge of cyber protection. However, according to the same study, it seems they don’t put it into practise, as their digital habits fall below the average. Privacy awareness had a score of 72.2%, while digital habits scored only 47.1%.
“Cybersecurity is a very important part of our lives, especially now that we have been forced into a remote environment. It should be our top priority when doing all sorts of online activities like working, studying, and shopping. Unfortunately, people don’t practise what they preach, as the number of people affected by cyberattacks has been increasing year by year,” says Oliver Noble, a cybersecurity expert at NordLocker, a data protection tool.
A worrying 41.9% of respondents of the National Privacy Test claim they proceed without reading Privacy Policies and Terms and Conditions when signing up for a service or a product, or are not sure if they do. Blindly accepting everything you’re offered and unknowingly giving away personal information may result in its abuse.
Also, 37.2% of those who took the test say they either postpone software updates or ignore the message altogether when an app prompts them with one. “It’s been estimated that, on average, there are one to four updates per app per month. Ignoring them for a while might leave you with poorer app efficiency, less features, and unfixed bugs,” Oliver Noble explains.
To stay private online, 46.2% of respondents use incognito mode on their browser, while 49% clear their browsing history. Unfortunately, these actions may help hide the browsing history from a flatmate, but they don’t ensure digital privacy.
Simple tricks to improve online privacy and security
- People don’t need to read 10 pages of legal documents every time they sign up for a service. “Go straight to the data privacy section and check what personal information the service provider collects, whether your data is shared with third parties, and if you can opt out. If it’s a paid service, search the document for terms like ‘refund’ and ‘cancellation,'” Oliver Noble from NordLocker recommends.
- Regardless of how much people hate to be interrupted, they need to try to get into the habit of updating apps promptly or setting devices to install updates automatically. Software updates not only provide better user experience or new features but often include important fixes that patch known security vulnerabilities.
- Not only do internet service providers and Google know what people are looking at in private browsing mode, but they’re also using it to track them. The only tool to help people browse privately is a VPN, which provides an encrypted tunnel for online traffic, keeping internet data secure and private.