Privacy concerns tend to seem unimportant and not pressing to many of us in our daily lives. Whenever you see a headline about a celebrity having their career ruined in various ways on the internet, it can be easy to dismiss these events as not relevant to our lifestyles. After all, why would anybody want to attack a random, relatively unimportant person?
The question posed, while valid, misses an underlying fact of the matter. While it’s true that the higher effort, more targeted threats may pass you by if you don’t have a major presence in the world, you aren't always safe from everything all the time. Many attacks are actually more effective against smaller targets than larger ones.
Here’s an incomplete list of all the attacks that somebody with next to no presence online is still at risk of becoming the victim of.
We plan on writing about each of these threats individually in more detail in the future; however, here’s a quick summary.
For the phone and email scams, you’ve already definitely been the target of at least one of these. It’s estimated that nearly 40% of all phone calls made in the United States in 2019 were scams, with no sign of slowing. The volume of this problem is largely attributed to major data breaches like the one that happened in LinkedIn just this year.
For Identity Theft, nearly one third of all adults in the US have experienced it, making this a very clear and present danger. People’s information being kept behind unsafe, insecure passwords, and posted freely on social media is leading to billions of dollars in personal losses to people you know, and possibly even yourself in the near future.
The best way to keep yourself safe on the internet is to employ some simple best practices. These aren’t high effort, and don’t take lots of time.
Of course, these won’t eliminate risk overnight, but by being a harder target to penetrate, you make it more likely that you’ll be passed over for easier prey.
As we continue to transition to greater online dependency, simple, safe habits can save your life, and the lives of your loved ones. It’s easy to become complacent, but privacy concerns are very real, and very immediate.