I don’t know about you but I swear I read about a *major* data breach every single month in 2018. Between Google, Under Armour, Saks and Lord and Taylor, Facebook, Marriott and Cambridge Analytica, nearly 700 million users were affected. That means either your full name, address, phone number or credit card information were viewed by someone you don’t know.
January 28 is International Data Privacy Day, an educational initiative focused on raising awareness among businesses and individuals about the importance of protecting data. As more and more companies, websites and social media collect personal information, it’s essential to know how to keep your data safe and the steps companies are taking to do their part.
Plus, you have an array of other options to help keep your private information private. Here are just a few:
- Don’t fill out your entire social media profile. The more information you share online, the easier it’s going to be for someone to get their hands on it. Don’t cooperate.
- Use two-factor authorization. Two-factor authentication works beautifully for keeping others from accessing your accounts, although some people feel it’s too time consuming. But if you’re serious about privacy, you’ll put up with the friction.
- Be careful who you give your social security number to — even the last four digits. Think twice about sharing your social security number with anyone, unless it’s your bank, a credit bureau, a company that wants to do a background check on you. Even the last four digits of your social security number should only be used when necessary.
- Take advantage of a password vault that generates and remembers strong, unique passwords. Let’s face it. If I had to remember a different password for every account I had, I’d be locked out of every one. To eliminate this dilemma, use a password manager that will not only remember all your passwords, but will generate super strong and unique ones and automatically fill them into login fields with the click of a button.
- Set up a Google Alert with your name. This is a simple way to keep an eye on anything someone might be saying about you on the web.
- Keep your social network activity private. Double check your settings on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Google + — all of them!
- Lie when you set up security questions. “What is your mother’s maiden name?” or “In what city were you born?” are common questions websites often ask you to answer to supposedly keep your account safe from intruders. In reality, there’s nothing secure about such generic queries.
- Use password protection on your laptop. Set up your PC to require a password when it wakes from sleep or boots up. Sure, you may trust the people who live in your house, but what if your laptop is stolen or you lose it?