Sensitive Personal Data Sent by Mistake

Sensitive Personal Data Sent by Mistake

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Lukas Vileikis
29 July 2021

These days, sensitive personal data is available everywhere you look. Everyone has some sort of personal data they use to register, to log in to social media accounts, banking accounts. However, what some people don’t realize is the fact that these days it’s so easy to disclose sensitive data: especially by digital means, through social media or mail. This is what we’re looking into in this blog post.

What is Personal Data?

Personal data, simply put, is any data that relates to a specific person: such data may include email addresses, usernames, passwords, IP addresses, geographical data, phone numbers or even credit card numbers. Some types of personal data are very sensitive, others less so - it all depends on the data type.

These days, usernames, email addresses and passwords are used by almost all systems on the web - they’re used by Facebook, Twitter, Google, Netflix, Amazon, eBay, and so on. Protecting them by using a strong password is the first line of defense - however, as sad as it may sound, these days that’s no longer enough.

You must also ensure that you also protect other types of data - use VPN solutions to change your IP if you so desire (that might even be a necessity to access certain services in certain countries), perhaps consider using a disposable phone number (these can be very easily found on the web) if you’re afraid of getting spam SMS messages or calls, consider using an alias for your email address to not give your identity away if you want to remain anonymous.

If you have taken steps to protect your personal data, changing a couple of passwords here and there shouldn’t be a big problem if a data breach occurs - however, if your information is disclosed by different means (for example, if your sensitive personal data is sent by mail by mistake) you could have a problem on your hands. To protect yourself in that scenario you might want to perform a couple of different steps including figuring out who actually sent the email and why, you should also probably figure out who the email was addressed to. After that, figure out what kind of data got sent by mistake and take appropriate action - for example, if your passwords were disclosed, change them. If someone disclosed sensitive SMS messages or calls, inform the people you messaged or called about the incident. If someone disclosed your credit or debit card data, immediately inform your bank and let them know.

Backups

Protecting your personal data is obviously very important, but what’s also important is backing it up. Backup Ninja can be of great help in this scenario - log in to the service and you will be able to observe the status of your backups:

Status of Backups

The main page will provide you with some valuable information regarding your database backups - the amount of servers, how many backups are running or inactive, how many are errored out, what are your backup statistics during the last 24 hours, during the last 7 days, during the last 30 days etc. - you will also be able to view a list of scheduled backups or schedule a backup yourself.

To schedule a backup, first fill in the details: choose a name for your schedule, select a backup method from those available, select your backup server and backup type, also select whether you want to enable Point in Time Recovery and backup a database per file or not:

Backup Scheduling

Now, select where you want to store your backups - backups can either be stored locally or in the cloud. For the cloud, you have a couple of options:

Cloud Provider

Finally, select the cloud provider you set up, select the retention policy type, select how many days you want to store backups for and proceed:

Backup Settings

Finally, set up your settings and finalize scheduling your backup:

Settings

Finally, click Continue to schedule your backup.

Email Notifications

As the topic of this blog is sensitive personal data sent by mail by mistake, Backup Ninja can also help you out in that regard:

Notifications

The email notification settings page on Backup Ninja lets you set up notifications for backup events, schedule events or agent events - you can be alerted when a backup is created, when it’s removed, when a backup process fails or when it completes with errors, etc. - you can also be alerted when an agent is installed, stopped or reports an error, etc.

Protecting Against Personal Data Disclosure

To protect against personal data disclosure whether by mistake or otherwise, keep the following points in mind:

  • Do not share sensitive information with people you don’t know.
  • Avoid disclosing too much personal data to your colleagues - follow the “need to know” principle: if people do not need to know something, don’t disclose such information.
  • Talk with your friends and colleagues at work about issues posed by sensitive data disclosure beforehand - if they know the risks, they are more likely to be able to protect against them.

Summary

When communicating over email, it’s very important to remember key security points in mind. Keep the aforementioned security guidelines in mind and you should be on your way to protecting your data - however, remember that all of your data must be backed up (especially if we’re talking about databases) - Backup Ninja can be of great help in this regard. Simply register, log in and you will be able to use all of the benefits it’s able to provide.

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