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What privacy profile do you fit?

Ryan Francis | Jan. 30, 2017
Are you a Reckless Rebel or a Nervous Nellie? Whatever your sharing category, we've got tips to help you do it safely.

This segment has the largest share of consumers ages 18 to 24, and they skew female. They take the fewest measures to protect their privacy, and many say they don’t intend to take precautions like using online cookie trackers or data encryption.

Nervous Nellies: They are the parents and grandparents who struggle to strike a balance between being connected and being safe. It’s not that they don’t want to protect their privacy, it’s that they don’t know how. They also think the consumer data ecosystem is far less huge than it really is.

Not only are they the least likely to use privacy protection tools like “Do Not Track,” data encryption, or device autolock, they are also the least likely to be aware of what these tools actually are.

Skeptical Protectionists: They are digitally savvy; they grew up and entered the workforce as the consumer internet was emerging. Unlike digital natives, people in this group are less trusting of online services, which means they take privacy seriously. In fact, more than half of them have canceled a transaction because of something they read in a privacy policy. This is a segment you can’t afford to alienate.

They are very informed and concerned about their privacy, and nothing will motivate them to share their personal information. They are highly skeptical that companies — especially social networks and media firms — will keep their information secure.

Tips for online safety

So now that you know the characteristics for each category, security industry professionals have some best practices for online safety, tailored for each group.

Richard Stiennon, chief strategy officer at Blancco Technology Group, said just because you can’t see files on your desktop/laptop computer doesn’t mean they’re gone. When you drag files to the recycle bin on your computer and/or reformat your hard drive, the data isn’t really gone. “Imagine your hard drive is like a library. To find the book you want, you get a reference number from the library’s database – and that leads you to the section of the library where the book can be physically found. But the book still remains in the library and it just becomes a case of using more sophisticated methods to locate it. Secure erasure of your files is the best way to make sure your data is truly destroyed,” he said.

How often do you charge your personal smartphone by plugging a USB cord into your company laptop? How often do you charge your work phone by plugging a USB cord into your personal laptop? “Chances are, you do this multiple times a day. Once connected, a lot of devices begin automatically syncing without notice and transferring files between the two. If you’re plugging devices into one another, beware of which files you may be transferring because sensitive information like photos, emails, contacts and usernames and passwords could be hacked and eventually leaked,” Stiennon said. 


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