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Sensitive information

Sensitive information

(also sensitive data)

Sensitive information definition

Important information that no one should be able to access without permission. It’s a broad term that encompasses details about a person's religious beliefs, political opinions, genetic or health data, racial or ethnic origin, biometric data, etc. If data like this is leaked, it might cause someone financial or reputational damage or be used for malicious purposes if it falls into the wrong hands.

In business, sensitive data is confidential data that must not leave the company. This can be customers' personal and financial data or important trade secrets or strategies that competitors might abuse.

Sensitive information vs. personal data

Personal data falls under the category of sensitive information but is a much narrower term. It includes information that can be used to identify someone, like their name, surname, social security number, ID and driver’s license details, or phone number.

How to protect sensitive information

  • Use strong passwords. Use password managers like NordPass to generate and store passwords securely.
  • Encrypt your files. Use encryption tools like NordLocker to secure files with top-notch encryption. Even if your system is breached, your files will remain unreadable to other people.
  • Keep your social media accounts private. Only allow people you know to follow you, and never overshare. Keep details like your phone number or home address out of the public eye.
  • Protect your connections. Use a VPN service like NordVPN to encrypt your traffic and hide from prying eyes. It will also keep you safe by identifying malware-ridden files, stopping you from landing on malicious websites, and blocking trackers and intrusive ads on the spot.

Further reading

Ultimate digital security