If you haven’t marked your calendar yet, Data Privacy Day (DPD) is less than one week away. On January 28th, we’re encouraging everyone to make protecting privacy and data a greater priority. PRIVATE WiFi has teamed up with the National Cyber Security Alliance and countless other corporations, governments and organizations to empower the masses to own their online presence.
You think you are ready for DPD? Find out by taking this My Privacy IQ Quiz? But, if you need a refresher course in online privacy, take a moment to brush up on these very important topics.
Figuring Out Privacy Policies and Settings
Privacy policies do not guarantee that your information will be kept private. Most of the time, privacy policies include information on how the company collects and uses the data, but not about keeping your information private. Also, privacy policies are ever changing. What you originally “accepted,” might no longer be valid because when you first create your account and accept the terms, that doesn’t mean you are set for life. Check your settings and the policy often.
When you are thinking about social networking, consider who else might be viewing what you are posting. We’ve all heard this before: “I love posting and sharing online, but I am interviewing for jobs so can I still use social networking sites?” Of course you can, but set the privacy and security settings to your personal comfort level. Avoid sharing compromising photos and information. It’s okay to limit who sees what you share online. You have to be comfortable with your privacy settings.
Using Public WiFi
Never use your credit card, bank account information and your social security number while using a public WiFi connection. Programs exist to search online communication for keywords and number structures related to credit card and bank transactions, as well as your social security number. Limit the business you conduct on public WiFi and update your security settings to limit the access to your machine.
We’ve all been there before. You’re traveling and you realize you forgot to send that special someone a special gift. You’re using public WiFi at the hotel/airport/train station, so you’re safe, right? Nope. Simply purchasing WiFi does not mean it is secure. Public WiFi is just that, public. Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) like PRIVATE WiFi to ensure your information is invisible to hackers, and then you can order away!
Apps and Geo-location
People often ask us about the geo-location question that pops up. Many apps do not need geo-location services enabled to provide their service/function. You can decline or opt-out of the location service feature on your phone. By learning more about the apps you are using, you can protect yourself and your information before you download the app.
Create Strong Passwords
Make your passwords long and strong. Create a password that has a combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols. EnCrYPTioNisEZas!123. And don’t use one password for all your online accounts. Unique accounts require unique passwords to ward off cybercriminals.
For more pointers on how to make your privacy a priority on DPD and beyond, visit StaySafeOnline.org.