It’s getting harder to keep your data safe, especially online. If it’s only a matter of time before cybersecurity crimes reach every aspect of our lives, who’s caring about stopping a small hack? What can you do anyway?
Every business wants you – the customer – to fill out a survey, post a review, click a rating. Mobile apps want access to your phone’s data, storage, contacts, location, even messages and photos. And, sigh…retail data breaches are common news.
No one has control of their own data anymore, right?
True, businesses crave as much info as they can get and consumers often provide it. Yet, almost 7 of 10 consumers don’t trust that corporations are handling their personal data appropriately, according to gigya.com.
Assume your personal data is being mined, used and sold
Once someone has access to your info, they usually use it somehow. But can you refuse to provide it? How much choice do you really have?
Given how much information is accessible with most purchases, it’s not like you can be totally anonymous. But consider your privacy (ability to control access) vs. security (ability to protect yourself). Both are important!
Six weak links you can protect
If you want to own your online presence, you should try to protect these six vulnerable areas:
- Social media accounts
- In-home smart devices (and those linked to cell phones)
- Income tax files and health care info
- Teens (and those who click quickly or don’t read)
- Retail (purchasing and browsing)
- Info you think you deleted (it may still be accessible!)
Since January 28 is Data Privacy Day, amp up your online protection with these tips suggested by National Cyber Security Alliance:
- Personal data is high value – like money – so protect it similarly. Your purchase history, location, contact list and other data is valuable to others. Control the apps and websites that get yours. Keep apps current, delete unused ones, review app permissions with every update.
- Share carefully – and think before posting. Be discreet with what you reveal, who can see it, how it’s perceived now and in the future. Periodically review your social networks and all contact lists to ensure everyone still belongs.
- Set your own privacy and security limits – adjust websites and apps for strict settings. (Each device, application and browser has features to limit shared information. If you don’t know how to change the setting, ask for help.)
- Lock logins – for email, banking, social media accounts. Turn on the strongest authentication tools available, such as biometrics, security keys or a unique one-time code sent to your mobile device.
- Keep a clean device – and update software, operating systems and apps. Protect against spyware, malware and viruses.
- Use the Golden Rule online too – post only about others as you would want them to post about you.
- Secure EVERY device – by a strong password or authentication with finger swipe, facial or voice recognition, etc. These limit access to authorized users, and protect information if devices are lost or stolen. Cell phones are a weak link, and about 77% of consumers have one, according to a Pew survey.)
- Think before you app – while it’s just a game to you, it’s data of tremendous value to someone. Understand how the app collects and uses your data BEFORE you install it.
If you feel your data has been hacked, take action soon than later with more tips here.