Every time you get on social media and share a photo or search for some random question on a search engine, your information is being stored. It is saved, sorted and circulated so your information is then being shared with lots of unexpected places that you are probably unaware of. Just as this information applies to individuals, big businesses are also just as susceptible to having their information stolen.
1. Apps use it to stalk you
If you have a smartphone, there’s a decent chance you’re sharing your location and your data – sometimes without realizing it. A lot of apps downloaded from the Play Store or the App Store can track your whereabouts even when you’re not using the program. These apps run in the background when not being used to track location and other activity.
Normally, maps and other location-based apps would be expected to gather this data but it happens with way more apps than you might expect. Others include games, social media, even flashlight apps! According to one study, smartphone users who used a variety of phone apps normally over a period of two weeks had their location recorded up to 5000 times. Baffled? We haven’t even gotten to the good stuff yet. Keep reading.
2. Social Media Websites Use It
If you’re a part of any social media community, you’ve likely seen the “People you may know” feature. “Friends” who you haven’t seen or talked to in years suddenly show up on your profile. Sometimes it’s people you went to school with 30 years ago and don’t recognize them because they are married and their name has changed. How does an app do that?! It’s because they have your data stored in their systems. They know where you went to school, where you have lived, where you work and much more.
3. Thieves use it to Steal Your Identity
Fortunately or not, the above ways people use data are all legal. This one however, is not. Hackers can use the data you share online to steal your identity including your name, social security number, credit card information, and address. They can also use your activity to learn more about you. It’s often difficult not to put some of that information online somewhere but it is important to be aware of what websites you’re using and only use sites you trust. Also, make sure your passwords are secure in order to avoid having your information stolen and used by hackers.
4. Real Life Thieves Can Compromise Your Information
Ok, we’re all guilty of it. We’re excited about going on a trip and we post constantly about how many days are left because we just can’t contain it and everyone on social media must know what you’re doing every second of the day. Before you go on your next trip, think about this – If your profile is public, anyone can view your posts. Thieves can look at your posts about going out of town and they will know when your house or apartment will be empty. Did we learn nothing from Home Alone? Be smart about what you’re posting and make your profile private.
5. Companies Sell Your Data
Did you know that there is a whole economy in place to buy and sell your information online? Certain companies are constantly working in the background to collect your online data and sell it to other brokers or businesses. Your name, address, income, internet activity, and any other personal information you provide.
6. Retargeting Ads
If you visit a website, your information is stored. If you look at a product on Amazon or other retail company, your information is stored. Have you ever noticed how you can search for something online and then a few minutes later once you’ve moved on from said search, you are seeing ads for that thing? That’s not a coincidence. Your information has been saved and has sent to Google. If you search for something, click on a link, visit a website, and any of those things have retargeting ads for them, you’re going to start seeing those ads over and over again. Why? It is an attempt to get you to come back. It might be to get you to purchase something. It could be to get you to subscribe to a service. There are countless retargeting ads out there that want your “business” whatever that might be.
7. Advertisers, Insurance Companies, and Scientists Study it
Insurance companies have been known to purchase and study our online data. Seems a little odd but really, it’s not all that strange. See, they use it to set rates and premiums for their products. Some companies will even snoop on social media pages to try and find out if someone is telling the truth about a claim. These people are sneaky. Advertisers do similar things to try to learn more about their customer base. They might use it to find out average age or income or even shared interests of people likely to use their product or services.
So what can you do to ensure your information is safe? Aside from living under a rock for the next hundred years, you can safeguard your data and information with a few simple tips. Use complicated passwords that are not obvious. If you are going to purchase something online, do so through stores you trust. Read the fine print. Sometimes there are ways to opt out of having your information shared with third party companies. Be smart. If it doesn’t feel or look right, get out of there. Don’t linger on websites that looks suspicious.
Your data is saved out in the world of the Internet, but there are also ways to protect yourself against the big threats out there.
Radius Bridge starts with your data. Making intelligent, data driven decisions across all departments of your organization is critical to operating at peak levels of performance. Whether Operations, Sales, or Advertising — knowing where you are now is the first step to making improvements. Yet for many Executives and Department Heads, this data simply isn’t accessible in a way that allows them to make better decisions.
“How is our performance stacking up?” The question appears easy, but the answers are not. You probably already have surface level ROI reports for Operations or ROAS (Return On Ad Spend) for Advertising, but for truly useful management tools you need to go beneath the surface to enable looking across all the data at one time in unified and dynamic reporting. Our work starts with Your Data.