By: Rene McIver, CSO, SecureKey
Today, more than 50 countries celebrate #DataPrivacyDay. Starting in 2007, this international holiday was created to raise awareness for privacy and data protection best practices. It’s also a reminder for all of us to be more aware of our digital footprints, to take steps to better protect our privacy and to recognize that, while data protection and privacy should be a key pillar of any organization’s core philosophy, we should play an active role in the protection of our own data – as many organizations, unfortunately, can fall woefully short.
This year, #DataPrivacyDay turns 12, and we’ve compiled 12 tips to better protect your privacy online:
- Use secure passwords. Long combinations of more than 12 characters including symbols, letters and numbers work best to protect your private information. Password managers, such as LastPass, can also help using secure passwords easier.
- Use secure Wi-Fi connections. Free Wi-Fi services are a major risk and can compromise your personal information.
- Be mindful of your downloads. Use only trustworthy and verified sources.
- Be aware of scams… and under no circumstances give out any personal information via email, over the phone or on websites that are not verified and trusted.
- Keep your computer and other devices safe from viruses and malware.
- Check social privacy settings periodically. Even though you probably set your preferences up when you opened your account, ongoing software updates may have reverted settings back to the default privacy settings.
- Don’t use public storage for private information. Online services that are meant for sharing information, such as Google Docs or Dropbox, are not ideal to store a list of passwords unless they are kept in an encrypted archive.
- Keep your main e-mail address and phone number private. Even if you have to share them with online services, avoid sharing this information with random people over social networks.
- Switch search engines. Switching between Google, Bing, Yahoo or other search engines of your preference will make it more difficult for organizations to keep track of your searches, and cater your online experience based on that information – likely without your full or informed consent. There are alternative ones that do not track your personal data. Additionally, setting your browser to private browsing mode disables your browsing history and web cache; an additional option in making your browsing experience more private.
- Never give away more information than you have to. Sometimes information such as your postal code and your email address is used purely for marketing purposes. When filling out online forms, only include mandatory information – typically marked with an asterisk symbol.
- Use messaging apps with end-to-end encryption – applications such as WhatsApp are already using it. However, you will have to manually enable it when using messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger.
At SecureKey, we recognize this international holiday with open arms and reinvigorated resolve that each year, more and more consumers will feel empowered enough to take back control of their digital identity and act as privacy advocates for others. To us, Data Privacy Day is EVERY day. We work tirelessly to encourage Canadians to be mindful of what personal information they share online, with whom, when, whether it is provided with full consent and whether it is shared with services that have earned their trust.
Let’s use today’s celebration of the Data Privacy Day as an excuse to welcome a more conscious share of personal information.
Do you have other tips to protect privacy online? Join the conversation online using the hashtags #DPD2019 #PrivacyAware #DataPrivacyDay