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Data Privacy Day: Safeguard your information

by on January 28, 2014

(Story by Pamela Busby)

With the rise of Internet use, many people choose to share information with their family, friends, acquaintances, and with companies that run websites, social networking sites, and mobile applications (apps). Sometimes this sharing of information is deliberate, but other times people are unaware of how much, or what type, of information they have agreed to share.

To commemorate National Data Privacy Day, on Jan. 28, the Stop.Think.Connect.™ Campaign encourages everyone to take a step back and look at their “digital footprint.” How much information are you sharing on social media? Do you know what information the mobile device apps you have downloaded can access? Is the information you make available enough to allow someone to gain access to your accounts or steal your identity?

Data Privacy Day is an annual awareness day observed all over the world to encourage everyone to protect their personal information. In the United States, Data Privacy Day is led by the National Cyber Security Alliance, the Stop.Think.Connect.™ Campaign’s co-leader.

To help secure your online information, follow the simple tips below: 

  • Secure your devices. Keep your devices from prying eyes. Set passcodes or pass phrases (long passwords) to be sure only you can access your smartphone, tablet or PC.
  • Secure your accounts. Passwords are no longer the only protection from would-be hackers. When possible, enable two-factor authentication to add another layer of security. Some sites, such as Google, allow you to opt-in to two-factor authentication, which means you need both your password, and a passcode sent via text or email, to log into an account.
  • Make passwords long, strong and unique. Passwords should be different for each account, have as many characters as allowed and include numbers, symbols and letters, capital and lowercase.
  • Think before you app. Before downloading a mobile app, understand what information (such as your location, access to social networks, etc.) the app accesses.
  • Back it up. Store digital copies of your valuable work, music, photos and other information on an external hard drive or trusted online service.

Americans are becoming more aware of the privacy implications of being online. According to a Pew Research Center survey, 86 percent of Internet users have taken steps online to remove or mask their digital footprints—ranging from clearing cookies to encrypting their email.

For more tips on how to protect your data, visit Staysafeonline.

Reprinted with permission from Staysafeonline


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