You lock your front door every day, right? You also lock your car doors every time you get out of it? So, why wouldn’t you want to protect your personal information 24/7/365?
According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, half of internet users said they are worried about the amount of personal information exposed online. In a separate national survey from 2013, researchers found 86% of users said they’ve taken steps online to remove or mask their digital footprints.
“It’s promising to see that awareness of privacy and security is growing, but there is still a need for more education around how our data is collected, managed and used,” says Michael Kaiser, National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) Executive Director. “Personal information has value – just like money. It’s critically important for everyone to continue to learn about the data use practices of the companies, websites and devices with which they interact and consider how they can better manage their digital lives.”
According to the NCSA, the organization is the nation’s leading nonprofit, public-private partnership promoting cybersecurity and privacy education and awareness.
How to Protect Yourself
- Keep security software updated. If possible, consider allowing automatic updates.
- Scan everything! Don’t forget about USB and other external devices.
- Use passwords with a minimum of 18 special characters.
- Use different passwords for different accounts.
- Do not keep a digital list of your passwords. Be old fashioned. Write them down in a notebook.
- Think twice about what you’re sharing on social media, like your birth date or address.
- Don’t click unknown links in emails or on social media.
- If you get an email from your bank requesting you change your password, call your bank instead of clicking the link.
- Only do business on secure websites. “https://” will be in the web address.
- Limit the type of business you do on public WiFi.
Are you familiar with the Internet of Things? IoT is raising red flags.
“IoT is really the Internet of Me,” explains Kaiser. “As we continue to acquire devices and apps to make our lives more convenient and efficient, we need to be aware that the cadence of our lives is being digitally captured.”
The NCSA says you can get involved by using #PrivacyAware on social media. Users are encouraged to post why privacy is important to them. In the comments below, share how you try to protect your privacy.