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Online Security vs Privacy: For Beginners

As our society becomes progressively more digitized, IT professionals and technical teams are not the only ones who have to worry about cybersecurity. Everybody these days needs to have a thorough understanding of security, safety, and privacy, particularly those who work in communications. In this article, we delve into the differences between privacy and security and why they are so crucial to the stability and success of yourself, your organization, and the clients you serve. To protect yourself and your organization, you must have a thorough understanding of these concepts.

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What Is Privacy?

First, let?s discuss what privacy is. Privacy refers to your rights to manage your personal information and how it is used in the case that you share it with other entities, or if it is collected while surfing the internet. Remember those privacy policies you?re always asked to agree to whenever you?re registering for an online account or when you download an app on your device? Those privacy policies state what type of personal information the company you?re interacting with logs about you and exactly what they are allowed to do with the information they gather. Another example of online privacy is the browsers, like Chrome, keeping logs of your online activity and tracking information such as your location, browsing history, and devices used. Here?s a paraphrase of the definition of privacy from Privacy International: ?Privacy is a fundamental right which is key to the protection and autonomy of human dignity. It serves as the foundation upon which many other human rights can be constructed.??

This statement holds for our privacy in the real world and the digital world as it gives us the freedom to control who knows what about us and express ourselves without judgment.?

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What Is Security?

Security is how protected the personal information we discussed above is. There are many forms of online security, from the simple act of preventing malware from getting its way across through installing antivirus software on your laptop to having an entire complex system with various security rules designed to avoid credit card theft. Essentially, security is the layer of protection you put on a computer, device or online platform to prevent the user data and privacy from being compromised by hackers or cybercriminals. All the companies you give your personal information to, from the websites you register on to the apps you install, should have resources to offer a secure environment for their users? data to stop cybercriminals from hacking their way into users? private data. You can also take additional prevention measures, such as using a firewall, installing an antivirus, and using encryption software.?

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What Is The Difference Between Privacy And Security?

Here?s an example to show you the difference between privacy and security:

Imagine you registered for an account on a website that requires some personal information. What is the process your private data could go through?

  • Compromised privacy but security strong- Your personal information is sold to third parties by the website. You may have agreed to this in the privacy disclosure, in which case the data will be shared with more eyes than you may want.
  • Compromised privacy and security- When the website?s security weaknesses are exploited by cybercriminals looking to steal users? private information, it is known as a data breach. After a data breach occurs, your personal information may be put on the black market. Depending on the information, you can even become the victim of cyber fraud or identity theft.?
  • Both privacy and security are on point- The website utilizes personal information to register your account and safely protect the data.


cartoon of hacker fishing for information


How Offline Activities Affect Online Security and Privacy

Thanks to developments in technology, both corporations, and the government can monitor our conversations, online transactions, and all the locations we?ve visited. The biggest challenge for privacy is that you may not know that your privacy might be compromised. The internet is not only packed with apps, websites, and software hiding the fact they are collecting private data, but people continuously agree to privacy policies they haven?t read.?


Social Media And Online Security and Privacy

Social media accounts can be powerful tools in malicious hands. Hackers have taken over media outlets, and large corporation twitter accounts before, using them for anything from drawing attention to global issues to basic spam. Your accounts may seem not important enough for scammers, but your information can be a valuable commodity even if you only have a few followers. Here are some ways to stay safe on social networks:

  • Use unique passwords for each social network.
  • Don?t be too personal.
  • Lock your phone
  • Watch your mailbox
  • Use the block button.


Using Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)

Certain kinds of software can protect both your privacy and security simultaneously. One of the top examples of this is VPN services (Virtual Private Software). The VPN forms a safe tunnel for your online activity, encrypting all the data received or sent to/from your computer. Essentially, nobody will be able to see what you?re up to online. The VPN protects your privacy by blocking ISPs, websites, and internet browsers from tracking your online activities and information. A VPN also helps your security by protecting you from other people accessing your private information and data.?


Securing Your Computer And Smartphone

When protecting your online security, the first thing you need to do is to ensure that the devices you?re using are secured so you can stop cybercriminals from being able to hack into your private information and other data. Your computer?s security can be bolstered by installing a firewall and using antivirus software.?

Of course, your computer is not the only device that can have its security compromised. Smartphones can be hacked easily, and often your smartphone may hold even more personal information than your computer does since we use and carry our mobiles pretty much constantly.?

Related: HITRUST Certification vs HIPAA: What You Need to Know



Since the internet is used for pretty much everything these days, it puts our personal information right in the attack line and makes us great targets for attacks by hackers. There are many ways a hacker can access your private information you may not be aware of. Examples range from malicious software like Spyware or Adware hidden in pop-ups to many malware such as worms, viruses, Trojan, and keyloggers. Cyber Security Resources offers a wide range of cybersecurity services and products, such as security assessments and consulting. Protect your business with Cyber Security Resources today!


Looking for ways to secure your business? Consult with Cyber Security Resources today!

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