The New York Times posted an article today about a new game that is in development called 'Data Dealer'. The goal of the game is to buy and sell as much virtual 'personal data' as possible to make a profit and rule as a powerful Data Mogul.
The aim of the developers is to inform users about the reality of the consumer data market and how governments, companies and other organizations buy and sell your personal information to each other for purposes of intelligence gathering, consumer profiling or just old fashioned advertising.
I think this is a great method to teach people about personal cyber security that presents a very real truth in a form that anyone can enjoy and hopefully take away some useful security tips.
The games developers are based in Vienna, Austria and currently have a Kickstarter running for the next 22 hours to raise a little over $6,500 so they have the funding to create the game. In the meantime, if you want to try out the game for yourself, check out their free demo.
So while Data Dealer provides a virtual reality to expose how vulnerable (and valuable) your information is, I will step in and tell you how to keep that information away from prying eyes in your every day life.
- Use a "throw away" e-mail, one that you don't mind providing for surveys or even registration forms, this is also a great way to avoid spam e-mail and possible phishing coming to your personal and private account.
- Turn off your Cookies, an article by Pieter Artnz, Law Against Cookies, describes what cookies are and how to get rid of them. They can be used to obtain information about your web activities and that data can be sold.
- Be aware of what you are posting. Do you think that only your friends and family can see a picture shared online? How about your favorite restaurant? Privacy settings on services like Facebook are vital to keeping your personal info out of the wrong hands.
- Google yourself! I know it sounds a bit self-obsessed but if you plug your name into a search engine, you might reveal information posted about you that you previously didn't know was there. At this point you might be able to get it taken down or removed.
- Of course, using ad blockers and antivirus/anti-malware products will keep your system safe from malware that might be in the business of stealing your habits, personal information and financial information and selling it off to the highest bidder.
The Data Dealer Kickstarter Page has only 3 hours left to raise a little under $2000! If you want to support them and get some really neat swag for doing so, please check them out!