It is no exaggeration to say that 9.9 out of 10 younger generations in Hong Kong have ordered takeaway on an app before. The other day, Connie was working overtime in the office. Her mobile phone tinged and twitched. A push notification wrote that her credit card has been charged HKD189 from a takeaway platform. Here's the rub: Connie had not placed the order. So, she immediately called the platform to cancel the order. The takeaway platform replied that as the payment has been automatically authorized by the card owner, there is simply no way to stop the order despite that the card owner is not even a user of the takeaway platform. The bell finally rang, Connie remembered she used to order takeaways on her ex's mobile. But she forgot to delete her credit card information on his phone when they broke up. The last thing she had expected was that he would use her credit card. Since banks often recommend their customers to report credit card frauds and claims to the police, feel reluctant to deal with all the hassles and her ex, Connie decided to cancel her card instead and call it a lesson.
Smartphones and tablets are so popular these days. Some people, like Connie, have stored their login credentials and even credit card payment information on frequently used platforms, such as takeaway apps, social media, email inbox, online stores, travel booking apps, etc. Many of them do not even bother to use safety features such as screen lock or two-factor authentication. Once the phone is lost, it will instantly become a scammer's golden ticket to a big feast.
In addition to being robbed, scammers may also use your personal information to engage in unlawful deeds. It is not unheard of that people’s personal information got stolen and became heavily indebted all of a sudden, which negatively impacted their credit score and life plans.
The common types of privacy settings include a browsing record, search engine record and online login credentials. As the ever so convenient 'autofill feature' of the browser is often turned on by default, with just a click what needs to be entered will appear automatically, meaning a vast amount of data is stored, allowing the browser to select the best fit content to provide such clever feature. The 'history feature' of the browser is pretty much doing the same, where an overview of all the search keywords used, and websites visited are recorded.
Smartphone users may have also noticed, that we are often asked by a newly installed app, to allow it to track your activity across other apps or websites. Apps developers asking for data permission before you can use the app is common, whether your phone is on iOS, Android or Windows makes little difference. And all too often, people will just authorize them all for convenience. As a result, these apps are permitted to automatically track users' online activities, and collect big data for personalized advertising and business analysis.
Protect Your Privacy Settings
If users have never altered the default privacy settings of their browsers, apps, and online platforms, these apps or website owners will probably know your preferences like the back of their hand. When someone else logs into your account without authentication using your laptop or tablet, your personal information, preferences, and habits will be exposed. If you are unfortunate enough to have a control freak partner, your digital footprint on your laptop or tablet may be used to keep track of your daily contacts, your whereabouts, or even your credit information.
Here are some tips for those of you who want to conceal your secrets:
Big data is everywhere. While living smart, we should also be wary of unwanted big-data manipulations, as well as be smart enough to take control and protect our personal information!
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