Reminders about Data Privacy

With today’s technology, keeping your private information safe can be quite a challenge. 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 you are not aware of.

Today is the perfect day to review your privacy settings and be aware of how and where your information is being shared. This international annual holiday focuses on raising awareness about the importance of protecting personal information online and promoting best practices for privacy and data protection.

Take a moment to review these four easy tips from the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) 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.
  • 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.
  • Backup your data: Data can be lost in many ways, including theft, viruses, or spyware. Don’t risk losing your family photos by not having a secure backup. Make copies and choose the hardware or location you’d like to store your backups. Then be sure to safely store the device or drive that has your backed-up files.
  • 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.

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 Mike Wanta, Associate Manager – Communications


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