Big Data and Your Mobile Identity

Jan 17, 2013 19:50:00Posted by John Skorick, MyAKA Founder & CEO

	Big Data and Your Mobile Identity

The term "Big Data" is a buzzword within many tech industries, and it represents a trend that affects everyone who uses the internet for personal or business purposes. Having an understanding of Big Data and how it may affect your online lifestyle could help you protect your mobile security, so here's an outline of what it is and how it's used.

What is Big Data?
According to IBM, the term Big Data refers to the massive amounts of information floating in cyberspace that will eventually be gathered by various pieces of technology. The advent of the internet has made data collection a much bigger industry, with the company claiming 90 percent of the data that exists in the world today was created within the last two years alone. Pictures you post online, Tweets you send out to your followers, videos you upload to YouTube and items you purchase on Amazon all comprise tiny parts of the vast universe of Big Data.

How is it used?
Many companies are now hiring professionals or using recently developed software to comb through the large amounts of data on the internet in order to improve business. For example, an online retailer may use Big Data to create customer profiles, thus personalizing their shoppers' online experience. A technology company, meanwhile, may sort through Big Data archives to find out what security threats are most prevalent in its industry. Not all companies and individuals accessing Big Data, however, are doing so with good intentions.

The dangers of Big Data
When you boil it down, much of Big Data is comprised of users' personal information, and such intimate data can always pose a threat. For example, LifeHacker points out that some websites may change the prices of products based on a shoppers' location, a practice known as dynamic pricing. This can end up costing some users quite a bit of money if they enjoy making purchases online.

Fortunately, there are ways to protect yourself from privacy invasions, according to the news source. One method is to change your IP address, which is one way that retailers are able to tell where you are located. This can be done using a proxy server or VPN, but if that seems too complex, then you can try browsing the internet "incognito." Browsers like Firefox and Google Chrome allow you to disable cookies, which track your internet activities, by using a private window. You can do this as often as you like, but it may be wise to use incognito mode when making purchases online.

You can also keep your mobile identity secure by refraining from sharing too much personal information on the web. Instead of giving your personal contact information to unfamiliar websites, consider listing a second phone number and email address.

Whether or not you like the idea of Big Data, the trend is likely here to stay. The vast amounts of information on the internet can be used for good purposes, but as any savvy web surfer will know, there are individuals out there looking to exploit this data for their own personal gain. That's why it's always essential to protect yourself by playing it safe while browsing online.