Protect Your Personal Data

Protect Your Personal Data

Q. Who needs to protect their data?
A. Everyone.

Even if you don’t use smartphones and computers, the companies and organizations you frequent do. And while they follow their own practices to protect client information, it’s important to also protect yourself.

Data Privacy Day on January 28th reminds us each year to review how our data is used. It’s an excellent opportunity to take stock and evaluate our personal cybersecurity.

Our personal data is collected and used through a variety of media and for numerous reasons. Part of the problem is most of the time, the people who have access to our data, don’t need it. Additionally, it gets redistributed legally and illegally. Thanks to the internet, massive amounts of personal data can be easily distributed. While the information may be out there due to our own carelessness or privacy violations, there are steps you can take to protect yourself.

Tips to help protect yourself:

  • On any new device, set your privacy settings immediately. This includes new applications, social media, and programs.
  • Never use unsecured WiFi – especially for banking or shopping.
  • Check your bank and credit card statements regularly. When you spot anything questionable, contact the organization to stop payment on the purchase and cancel your card. In the same vein, check your credit report at least annually.
  • Keep your software up to date. Out-of-date software is vulnerable to hackers.
  • Never give personal information over the phone, email, or text.
  • Stop taking online quizzes that ask random questions about your childhood, children, tattoos, marriages, pets, and favorite foods. Each time you take one of these, people trying to access your data, gather a little more information about you that helps them to steal your data or identity.
  • Use strong password phrases. The longer the password, the harder it is to break.
  • Do not save your passwords on your device.
  • Change passwords often or when your accounts may have been compromised. Good rule of thumb to follow, is to find something you have scheduled once or twice a year (example: dentist appointment) and use that as a reminder to also change your passwords.
  • Use virus protection and a firewall.

For more tips on keeping your data safe, visit today!

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