Protect yourself: Every internet user should know these basic online privacy tips

Saturday, January 27, 2018 02:44PM
Do you know the basics to stay safe online? Follow these tips to help guard your personal information.


Jan. 28 marks Data Privacy Day, a day to take stock of how well you are guarding your personal information online.

Because technology is constantly changing, data privacy is an area in which we can always improve, so here are some tips to help you get there.

BUILD STRONG PASSWORDS

"pAssword1!" won't cut it anymore. MIT recommends starting with a phrase and then changing some characters of that phrase to punctation, and/or misspellings. You can also remove vowels and change capitalizations to add security. So for example, "World's Best Password" could be turned into be "w5rLd'S b$st p%%ward."

Another good way to build a strong password is to think of a phrase you can remember and use the first letters of that phrase, interspersing non-letters. For example, "I love you to the moon and back" could become "ilY4tT%mab."

Remember, don't use the same password for multiple sites, and keep in mind that longer passwords are harder to crack.

LOCK YOUR DEVICES

If you have passcode, Touch ID or Face ID on your phone or mobile device, enabling these features will make it much more difficult for thieves to steal your information, according to the National Cyber Security Alliance.

CHECK THAT APP

Before you download, check to see what information the app collects from your device. If it's something you're not comfortable sharing, don't download it.

Also, remember that if you're no longer using an app, it's not worth keeping it and allowing your data to potentially be collected. NCSA recommends deleting all old apps.

WIFI CAN BE WILY

Ever get a notification about a store you were just walking through? If you don't want businesses keeping tabs on your movements, simply set the WiFi function to "off" when you're not using it. If you do choose to use public WiFi hotspots, don't enter important login information, as the low security on these networks makes it easier for others to see what you're doing.

UPDATE, UPDATE, UPDATE

Any time a device asks if you would like to update, do so. These updates help guard against the newest cyber threats that old software/browsers/etc. might not be programmed to guard against.

DON'T OVERSHARE

NCSA recommends this tip for kids especially, but it's a good reminder for adults, too. Be careful what personal information you share on social media and other sites. Information such as addresses and locations can be easily shared, even if it's only initially given out on private networks. Once it's out there, it's almost impossible to take back.

KNOW YOUR SETTINGS

Do you know what your Facebook profile looks like to the public? There are ways to check your settings on nearly every site you use. NCSA put together a list of links to help you.
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