In 2018, there were multiple headlines about data mining and privacy breaches. If you were lucky, you weren’t impacted—this time. This week we celebrate Data Privacy Day (Jan. 28), so it’s the perfect time to take a look at your privacy settings and be aware of how and where your information is being shared.
It can be difficult to keep your private information safe with today’s technology. No matter what you do online, whether it’s using social media sites, banking, shopping, gaming, or streaming, your personal information may be used in ways that may surprise you.
Take a moment to celebrate by taking some easy steps from the National Cyber Security Alliance that will put you on the path to privacy:
- Secure your devices: To protect your mobile phone, PC or laptop, create strong passwords and passcodes. When available, use Touch ID or Face ID features to lock your devices. If your devices are ever stolen or lost, these measures can help protect your information.
- Think before you say “allow”: Social media apps, gaming apps and online shopping apps all ask for your personal information. Think before you allow an app to access your location, contacts or other private data and how it might be used by the app. To safely use the apps you need and love, be mindful of how your information is being used. If you’re unsure of how to change your settings, use these resources from Stay Safe Online on how to manage your privacy settings.
- Be picky about Wi-Fi: Public wireless networks and hotspots are not secure, meaning that while connected, anyone with some basic technical skills could see what you are doing on your mobile device. To protect against this, limit what you do on public Wi-Fi. Avoid logging on to financial services accounts or email. If possible, use a personal or mobile hotspot or a virtual private network (VPN) to connect in public.
- Say “yes” to updates: Viruses and malware can also threaten your mobile device. Regularly check to make sure you have the most up-to-date web browser, operating system, app and security software to protect your devices and private data.
Increasing your online presence and activity can make it more difficult to protect yourself against data breaches or hacks, but this does not mean you have to leave the online world. Instead, read up on online safety tips from resources like Stay Safe Online.
By Sydney Kelly, Communications Intern