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How to protect athlete health data

Not too long ago, important documents used to be recorded on paper. Since they’re solid copies, they could be exposed to physical problems—misplacement, theft, and natural disasters. Other than these, more factors can affect the quality of these papers beyond recognition. Luckily, as time and technology evolved, so did the different mediums used to preserve confidential information.

Unfortunately, cyber attackers are starting to get attuned to what technology has to offer. Moreover, because of their fame, celebrities and other public figures are frequent victims of data breaches. In doing so, ruining any amount of privacy they still have. However, for athletes, privacy isn’t the only thing they’re risking when their health data gets leaked.

What Makes Athlete Health Data Important

At first glance, your health data contains everything vital to your health—allergies, medical records, past injuries, and anything associated with your health information. Health professionals would use this as a reference to avoid complications if they perform an operation or prescribe medicine for your current conditions. If that’s the case, what makes athlete health data any different?

Much like your typical health data, athlete health data also encloses any medical information relevant to current (and future) operations. However, as you’re probably aware, athletes’ health leaves a heavy impact on their performance.

Without awareness of data safety to protect your health information, it has a high risk of getting breached. By learning this kind of information, it’s likely for your attacker to sabotage your next performance.

Since most transactions can already be accomplished online, it only makes sense for you to be careful when browsing through the web especially if you’re an athlete or are managing an athlete. For further discussion, these are some tips on what to do to protect this highly sensitive data:

  • Be Wary Of Phishing

Before, scams were typically found through messages from unknown numbers or callers claiming you have ‘unfinished business’ with their company. Now, even websites could turn out as scams, and what’s worst is how legitimate they seem at first glance. They’d ask you to fill out basic information about yourself on these websites, such as your name and address.

For you, this ‘basic’ information might be no skin off your nose, but these details are enough for scammers to steal your identity. Bear this in mind while filling out information for a ‘healthcare provider’ online. Because other than giving out basic data, the website might ask you to provide the following:

  • Health data
  • Social Security Number
  • Family history, and
  • Bank account information

As an athlete, even leaking your diet plan is already dangerous; what more if you give out these crucial details to a phishing site? That’s why you need to be careful online. So, to keep your athlete health data intact:

  • Don’t entertain random links from an unknown sender, even if they look urgent.
  • Check if the site is secure when it uses ‘HTTPS.’
  • See if there’s a lock symbol at the corner of your address bar to ensure the information you filled out is exclusive for the website owner only.
  • Reach out to your healthcare provider.

Although these precautions may seem too overwhelming, keep in mind that you’re an athlete, a personality. Many would target you since the information you’re holding is essential to your performance. Therefore, being careful is one of the best protection against these data thieves.

  • Look Out For Online Tracking

If you’re not too well-versed with how the internet works, always keep this in mind: every move you make there is tracked. Cookies are given to enhance your website experience from every website you visit, to each account you log into. In exchange, you’re digitally leaving behind a trail of crumbs. Because of these crumbs, cyber attackers can easily trace them back to you.

Disabling online tracking is an option available for many web browsers. All you have to do is go to its settings and disable this feature. Of course, despite the risks, cookies are designed to make sure you get the best out of a website. Therefore, only limit your cookies to websites that require cookies for smoother navigation.

However, doubling your online security wouldn’t hurt. Other than limiting your cookies, look into virtual private networks (VPNs). Here, you could browse through the internet in complete anonymity; since incognito mode cannot work efficiently against a VPN. By taking this precaution from now on, your healthcare provider will surely be the only one who can view the data you filled in.

  • Practice Confidentiality

Since you’re an athlete, having an online presence will come in handy once you need all the support you can get. But always remember to never overshare. Learn which information you can share in public and the ones you should keep private.

For example, it’s okay to let everyone know about your latest protein shake recipe. However, you should never reveal any of your ailments, whether they’re from the past or otherwise. This way, you can still keep updating your online platform while securing privacy.

Takeaway

Valuable information used to be limited to papers and physical records alone. However, ever since technology began to advance, most of this information can be stored digitally, including your health data. Through these platforms and mediums, valuable information can be seen from your medical history. Therefore, securing this should be one of your top priorities as an athlete.

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