The easiest way to keep in contact with people today is through the internet. Internet usage has grown at a massive rate globally and even much more in Africa mainly because of the majority of the population that is young, tech-savvy and open to innovation. With all this high-speed innovation, it is important to know how you can protect your data on the internet.
With the growing number of internet users, also comes along the concerns of data security. Many internet subscribers especially in Africa pay little to no attention to how secure their information is on the internet. Uganda ranked as the most secure cyberspace in 2019 according to the cybersecurity report, exhibits the country’s preparedness to handle and manage cyber attacks.
Also read: Uganda Cybersecurity Report Launch 2019/2020
In addition, Uganda’s Data Protection and Privacy Act exists to protect internet users and their personal information to prevent it from falling into the hands of malicious people. The law expands the rights of individuals to control how their personal data is collected and processed, placing a range of obligations on those processing, which includes both public bodies and companies, personal data to be more accountable for data protection.
As much as there are initiatives and laws to ensure that our data is protected, Uganda Communications Commission Executive Director Irene Ssewankambo said while speaking on the NBS Spotlight show that it is also upon the public to take personal initiative and be cautious when it comes to how their data is being handled. With emerging technologies comes along new ways to compromise systems that are already in place in order to get illegal access to people’s personal data.
The UCC Executive Director advised that part of personal initiative is carrying out practices like occasionally changing your passwords, avoid using the same password for all your accounts as this can create the perfect loophole for people to gain access to your information.
Data security in Uganda is still given very little attention especially by the internet users themselves who barely take precautions to ensure that their data is safe. This however, remains a general problem affecting the entire continent with data privacy being taken very lightly in comparison to the rest of the world.
Simple ways on how you can protect your data on the internet
Due to the rapid adoption of technology as it has become a part of our day to day activities with the government and businesses running online, it is important for us to know how to keep ourselves and our personal information safe. Here are some basic measures on how you can protect your data on the internet.
- You are encouraged to use strong passwords that you should change from time to time at least once a month. Substitute numbers for some words or letters. For example, “I want to see the Pacific Ocean” could become 1W2CtPo.
- Lock up your laptop. Avoid saving sensitive information about yourself on the laptop unless you have to. Always log off when you are done using the laptop so it is harder for someone to access your information in case the laptop is stolen.
- Read privacy policies. As you use an application or website, always take time to read the privacy policies. This helps you know how the site maintains the accuracy, access and security of your personal information.
- Take caution when connecting to Wi-Fi. When you are connected to a public wireless network at a restaurant or the airport, check to see if your information will be protected. If you use an encrypted website, it protects only the information you send to and from that site. If you use a secure wireless network, all the information you send on that network is protected.
- Don’t open files, links or emails sent by strangers. Opening a file from someone you don’t know could expose you to a virus or spyware that captures your personal information like passwords as you type.
There are stricter measures on how you can protect your data on the internet, but these measures should help for starters to keep you safe.
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