Privacy and You: How at Risk is a Random Person to Online Threats?

Ki James
May 19th, 2022

Privacy concerns have a tendency to seem unimportant and not pressing to many of us in our daily lives. Whenever you read a headline about a celebrity having their career ruined in various ways on the internet, including through data breaches, 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?

Why, indeed

The question posed, while valid, misses an underlying fact of the matter. While it is of course the case that the higher effort, more targeted attacks may not target you, the vast majority of threats aren’t of this type.

Here’s a list (albeit an incomplete one) of the kinds of attacks that somebody with next to no presence online is still at risk of becoming the victim of.

In particular, Email Scams are targeted at people with business accounts. Even if you’re not a very important employee, having access to the network of a large firm makes you an attractive target.

How vulnerable am I to these risks, really?

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 this epidemic slowing down. The volume of this problem is largely attributed to major data breaches, such as the one that happened with LinkedIn just last year.

For cases of Identity Theft, nearly one third of all adults in the US have experienced this devastating tragedy. One third of Americans are not highly conspicuous, visible figures in the media. This threat poses a very clear and present danger.

Keeping your information behind unsafe, insecure passwords - or posted freely on social media yourself - is leading to billions of dollars in losses of personal income. It affects people you know, and might even affect yourself in the near future.

How do I protect myself?

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 a more internet dependent society, 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.

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