Data breaches happen all the time, companies misuse the data they have access to, and hackers want access to everything you do. Because of all of these threats, personal privacy and security should be a major focus of people online. However, a lot of people don't put any thought into their security or privacy online, and those who do, leave major holes in their plan. This has been made even more apparent thanks to the Kaspersky Consumer IT Security Risks Report 2021.
The report highlights a number of issues. This includes 80% of people using personal computers for business purposes, which can give your employer access to your personal data and expose proprietary data to the open internet. In addition, 53% of people who are victims of ransomware paid the ransom, and 17% of those people still didn't get their data back.
More importantly, though, is the major difference between thoughts and actions on access to users' cameras and microphones. 60% of users are concerned that access to their webcam and microphone could be gained by nefarious actors, or could be used outside of their intended purposes. However, 23% of all online users grant access to their webcam and microphone in every case it is requested. Even when using platforms you expect to be safe, they can expose your webcam without permission. With Zoom, external access to your cam was available even after uninstalling the software.
But, for those who are always giving access, they are asking for trouble. Very few apps and websites require access to your mic or camera. If you're not there to share your cam or mic, don't share your cam or mic. The same applies to location access - if it isn't going to give you a benefit, don't grant access. And, on your webcam, you should cover the lens when it is not in use. It might sound like a conspiracy theory, but it's true. Even Mark Zuckerberg, who is often portrayed as the bringer of the end of privacy, covers his camera with a sticky note.
The takeaway: stay vigilant online and protect your privacy and security by thinking about the permissions you give to apps and cameras.