Consumers Letting Themselves Down Over Online Privacy

New research has revealed that consumers’ lack of cyber-savvy is threatening to undermine their privacy.

Kaspersky Lab claimed in its Are you cyber savvy? study that 79% of consumers actually dislike being tracked online by advertisers, social media platforms, e-commerce firms and so on.

However, nearly half (41%) claimed they do nothing to protect themselves online, while 9% said they didn’t even know tracking took place.

Just over a quarter said they use a privacy mode in their browser and only 11% claimed they use a plug-in to achieve the same ends.

Kaspersky Lab advised consumers to disable automatic add-on installation, block suspicious web sites and pop-ups, make SSL certificate checks compulsory and block third party cookies.

It added that using VPNs and HTTPS sites will also improve your ability to stay hidden online.

Downloads of new software can trigger bulk collection of user data, so consumers should be careful to untick any boxes that could lead to extra toolbars, plugins and extensions being installed.

“With tracking data, it’s possible for advertisers, or even malicious third parties, to peer into the life of a person – from where they go, to the sites they browse,” explained Kaspersky Lab principal security researcher, David Emm.

“However, the crux of the problem is that many users simply aren’t cyber-savvy enough when it comes to protecting themselves from online tracking. They may be concerned, but do nothing about it. Even worse, they may not understand that they are putting their privacy at risk at all.”

This might be about to change in Europe, however, with the impending launch of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

The GDPR will look to impose fines of up to 4% of global annual turnover for firms failing to comply with its strict new rules on data protection.

Part of the new law will also force firms to design products and services with user privacy in mind from the very start.

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