Today: Apr 21, 2024

Students talk about data security

Brandon Cortes- News Writer

In an era where digital footprints are as common as keystrokes, concerns about the safety of personal information loom large with every account creation. The ubiquitous nature of social networks and websites prompts an inevitable question. Is our data truly secure? 

Students at the university express varying opinions regarding the security of their data on the internet. Some emphasize the importance of robust privacy measures and encryption protocols to safeguard their personal information from unauthorized access and misuse.  

Others voice concerns about the vulnerabilities inherent in online platforms and social networks, citing instances of data breaches and unauthorized access that undermine their confidence in the security of their digital footprint. 

A few years ago, an unknown individual hacked into the Instagram account of theatre major Anthony Forbes, a junior, leaving him wary of sharing comprehensive personal details on various other social networks. This fear stems from the persistent concern of being doxxed or subjected to harassment by unfamiliar individuals. 

“It’s very weird. I never gave my password to anyone, yet they were still able to access my Instagram account,” Forbes said. 

Nonetheless, Forbes entertains the unsettling possibility that his compromised Instagram account might be linked to the extensive data breach that rocked META in 2021. With over 533 million user accounts compromised and laid bare to third-party entities, the magnitude of the breach looms large in his considerations. 

The incident serves as a stark reminder of the inherent vulnerabilities that persist within online platforms, prompting Forbes to scrutinize his digital footprint and fortify his defenses against potential threats in the virtual realm. 

“Even on YouTube you can see strange comments about people asking you to enter in suspicious links that may well serve as ‘phishing’ to obtain your IP address or even gather additional information from you,” Forbes said. 

His colleague, geography major Jacob Hasbani, a senior, shares similar suspicions, stating that it appears too “coincidental” that after clicking on a random item of interest, related content suddenly emerges seemingly out of nowhere on Facebook. 

However, this issue is not limited to META platforms; it extends to university emails as well. Users often receive unexpected emails from unknown senders, claiming various scenarios such as imminent account termination or job opportunities with seemingly unrealistic salary figures. 

“Sometimes, it’s scary. A random person comes out of nowhere and tells you to send them your Cash App. Who gave them that information? How do they know me? It’s scary,” healthcare studies major Donika Anty, a junior, said. 

However, implementing two-step verification is just the beginning. According to healthcare studies major Ellie Cantil, a junior, the practice of providing social networks and websites with personal information, including phone numbers, remains a vulnerability. This data could potentially be exploited if the social network or website is hacked, granting unauthorized access to sensitive information. 

“Social networks and online platforms must prioritize the secure handling of users’ private information during the account creation process,” Cantil said. “Not only social networks, but the university too. Phishing emails are too weird and are becoming more and more frequent.” 

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