How to Protect Your Personal Data

As much as we like to be connected to the internet whether for business or leisure, we cannot escape the fact that this actually opens up part of your computer to the public. Websites, email accounts and your social media accounts are frighteningly exposing a part of you to everyone to see.

Why should you protect your data?

Identify theft, hacking and digital snoopers are some of the problems that you have to be aware of when connected online. It has been said that maybe the most secure thing to do is not to connect, but that would defeat the whole objective in the first place.

What should you be concerned with?

So what can you do to prevent your information from being sniffed and stolen?

  • Personal contact information – Where possible, make sure that you do not expose your home address and telephone number. These are very sensitive information. Use a separate email for social networking. However, if anyone gets your contact and harasses you in any way, keep all the documents and lodge a police report.
  • Ghost in the machine – Install those anti spyware programs that come with remote monitoring and control of your computer. These programs are now designed to access to your keystrokes and other devices like activating the webcam light if there are suspicious programs running in the background. Check out your Task Manager and see if there are any programs that are not supposed to be there. Google them and if they are right, delete them immediately.
  • Use the new ‘Do Not Track’ feature – this is a new feature which is available in most browsers today. It actually informs the sites not to follow or track what you do over the internet. This feature is stronger than preventing cookies of your browsing history. By using this feature, you need not have to worry if any of your information are stored and then sniffed out later.
  • The smartphone conundrum – Smartphones are getting a lot more popular today than any other computing devices in the past. But you need to be careful with the millions of apps available in the Android and Apple markets. Check out which apps are accessing your personal data and if limit advertising where possible. Remember, when using the Android OS, you are logged in on your gmail account.

Do not expose if possible

Ultimately, exposing your information online is something that you will do very blindly as there are too many places to register and too many requirements. Smartphones are the easiest as anyone who can access your phone pretty much can get all the information about you. So always be cautious.

What about the Malaysian Personal Data Protection Act or PDPA?

The Malaysian Personal Data Protection Act 2010 became official in 2013 and this means that personal data of everyone involved becomes more concerned for businesses. It is applicable to anyone who is involved in the processing of personal data for Malaysians.
This is applicable for many classes of data users which include the likes of:

  • Insurers
  • legal
  • auditing
  • accounting
  • engineering
  • architecture
  • developers
  • and others

This simply means that, most internet and mobile users would be involved.

What does the act cover?

Generally, what it entails includes, among others:

  • No one can process your personal data without your consent
  • No personal data can be disclose without the owner’s consent.
  • Data can be obtained and only kept for a period of the purpose as communicated and consented by the user
  • the data user must take all steps possible to ensure the personal data is safe and that they are accurate without any misleading information.

If you are a user who likes to use the Wi-Fi service in a particular café, then you would be involved in this Act. So, read all clauses properly and decide for yourself.