Indian Digital Citizens Need to Better Balance Their Device Use and Manage Online Safety

As Bryan Adams croons in the background (Everything I do) I do it for you…. and you give the last touches to your Valentine’s Day preparations, don’t forget to do that one thing that is playing a big spoilsport in relationships today- put your devices away! After all, you don’t want a phone buzz to spoil that perfectly romantic mood.

Good idea you say? But unfortunately, many don’t. McAfee released findings from a recent India survey, “Three’s Company: Lovers, Friends and Devices” that aims to understand the online behavior of people and how it affects their real-world relationships with friends and significant others. The survey findings highlight the need for better digital balance and greater vigilance while sharing personal information.

Consider the facts discovered by this year’s survey:

  • 67% of the people in a relationship have felt that their significant other was more interested in their internet connected device than in them.
  • 77% of the respondents feel that the use of technology gets in the way of relationships
  • 89% of Indians would be concerned if their significant other did not take the necessary steps to protect their personal information.

No doubt devices have become an integral part of our lives and we cannot imagine a life without them. We need them to connect, share, learn and discover. They can also prove to be life-saving at times. Having said that, it is also imperative that we do not let devices take over our lives, or our special times with the people who matter most to us. Face-to-face interactions are very important, whether it be with your significant other, or kids, or friends.

A comparison with the 2017 survey shows an increase in undesirable device habits over the year:

  • 84% said they share their personal passwords and PINs with their partners in 2018, up from 46% in 2017.
  • 75% indicated that they have had to compete for the attention of their date with their device, up from 57% in 2017.
  • 39% indicate that they have/would allow their significant other to use their work device (s), which is slightly higher than the 35% recorded last year.

On a positive note, 76% Indians are also taking the necessary steps to ensure their personal information is protected on their connected devices. That’s great to know and they should also be more vigilant about sharing too much. Though 89% of Indians think privacy is important in a relationship, there is a lot of sharing going on between partners and it’s not just love and sweet nothings. 84% share their passwords and PINs with their partners for:

  • Online shopping websites – 60%
  • Social media accounts – 45%
  • Streaming services (Netflix, Hulu, etc.) – 42%
  • Personal email accounts – 41%
  • Banking and financial services websites – 38%
  • Work specific devices/accounts – 38%

Tip: Proactively practice digital balance by keeping devices away or on silent mode when talking to family members or your partner. Give your 100% attention to them.

We want you to stay safe online as well as stay close to your loved ones! Here are a few tips that will help you stay safe while staying in love:

  • Protect your loved ones online… secure their devices. Take control of your privacy and security. Products like McAfee Total Protection helps secure all your devices and keep your personal data personal.
  • Keep control over emotions when it comes to passwords. Please tell me your password isn’t Love2018 or MyLoveXYZ?? Be as romantic as you want in real life but be very careful when choosing passwords, they are the keys to your accounts and shouldn’t be easy to hack. Use the TrueKey app to manage all your passwords. Also, enable Two-Factor-Authentication on all accounts for enhanced safety.
  • Love you…. but love my device more? No way! I know that feeling, of wanting to ‘just scroll through’ social media messages or checking the battery if there has been no ping for some time; but hey, relax and take a chill pill. Messages won’t disappear so, give priority to real connections over virtual ones.

A successful life and relationship is all about prioritizing and doing the right thing at the right time. This Valentine’s Day give priority to a device-free date and you will love the joy and positive vibes you feel around you.

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Take Charge of Your Online Privacy on Data Privacy Day

We spend a large part of our lives in the virtual world. Not only do we study, play, socialize and work; we also shop, pay bills and store documents. Today’s digital generation finds it tough to visualize a world where people had to stand in long queues each time they wanted to withdraw money from the bank, loan a book from the library or even buy a train ticket! There’s no doubt that the digital world spells ease, comfort, speed and time-efficiency. But it also means that there is a lot of our personal data out there that can be compromised, if it fell in the wrong hands.

Our data is our private property but due to malicious attacks or negligence, it may end up in the hands of unknown parties.

The aim of Data Privacy Day, celebrated on January 28th every year, is to make people aware of their rights to personal data protection and privacy.

So, what kind of data are we talking about? To name a few:

  • Resumes, certificates, photos
  • Health and employment records
  • Date of birth
  • Bank account details
  • Social media account login credentials
  • Credit and debit card details
  • Search patterns

Think back, haven’t you been surprised by how after searching for a product online you continue to receive ads for the same from various sources? How did they know your particular choice and how did the sellers get hold of it? There are these 3rd party apps that you unknowingly give permission to access your data when you install them. They collect, analyze and share the same without your explicit knowledge or consent.

As the world becomes increasingly digital, it’s no wonder that data protection has assumed such importance. The recent Supreme Court’s verdict on ‘Right to Privacy’ stand testimony to the same. It’s our data and we need to ensure it is kept private.

First and major step towards this involves securing devices, adopting good cyber practices and being a smart social media user. On Data Privacy Day, let us resolve to become more responsible netizens and take charge of our privacy through adhering to the following:

  • Don’t be pennywise pound foolish: Free security tools offer only basic security and hackers today are highly advanced in their techniques. Secure all internet-enabled devices as soon as you bring them home with reputed comprehensive security tools. And don’t you forget to secure your smartphone!
  • Double your account security: All default password for newly bought devices like smartphones, PCs and routers, should be modified right at the beginning. Create strong passwords and activate 2-Factor Authentication for all your accounts, including banking, e-shopping and social media
  • Share with care on social media: This is totally in your hands. If you are careful about not sharing your private details, contact and preferences online or telephonically, you are quite safe.
  • Consistent Backups: It’s a good idea to periodically transfer data from phone, tabs and laptops to an external storage device. That way even if a device gets hacked, your data remains safe.
  • Think before you click: Infected links and attachments are commonly used for phishing scams. Avoid clicking if not sure of the source or if the source looks suspicious with spelling errors in the URL.
  • Educate kids: Activate parental controls on your child’s devices and monitor their behaviour online. Teach them the importance of owning their online presence early on

The key is therefore to adopt good cybersafety practices and abide by them. And not just you and I, but everyone in the cyber world needs to do so as our security is linked. If one account gets hacked, it compromises all the other accounts which have been linked. That makes it our responsibility to ensure that our connected devices and virtual environment are all secure.

Dear readers, when you go online henceforth, remember to STOP. THINK. CONNECT. SHARE. Make everyday a Data Privacy Day and let’s start on this cyber safety journey today.