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Protect Yourself

"In digital era, privacy must be a priority." Al Gore

As the year 2017 begins, it is a good time to strengthen your digital privacy.  Here are a few things you can do today:

Secure Your Accounts:

  1. When available, use 2-factor authentication on all your accounts.
  2. Don't re-use passwords.
  3. Don't re-use variations of the same password.
  4. Always use letters, numbers, different capitalizations, and, when available, special characters.
  5. Longer passwords are better.  NEVER less than 10 characters.
  6. When possible, use different usernames between different websites.
  7. Be aware of phishing attempts!

Use Encryption:

  1. Use Signal (open source for Android and iOS) for messaging.
  2. When possible, encrypt your data.
  3. When possible, encrypt your disk drives.
  4. When possible, use encrypted thumb drives.

Social Media:

  1. Be careful what you post publicly on social media.  You can always make accounts or posts private.
  2. Prevent search engines from indexing your Facebook account by disabling this option in Facebook privacy settings.
  3. Don't refer to other social media accounts when given the opportunity.  For example, you can provide links to Twitter and Pinterest accounts, in your Facebook account.
  4. Don't tag where you are at in your social media posts--great information for someone looking to break into your home.  If you want to do that, delay the post after you get home.

File Sharing:

  1. Be careful what you download.
  2. Be careful who you share files with.
  3. Scan every file you download with an antivirus program.
  4. Sharing via Google Drive or Dropbox is OK but sacrifices privacy.  Google, Amazon and Dropbox can shut down your account at any time.

Search Engines:

  1. Don't use Google is you're searching for something sensitive. 
  2. We www.startpage.com or www.duckduckgo.com for more privacy when conducting a web search.

A Few More Thoughts:

  1. Delete your browser cookies often.  These can include information such as login or registration identification, user preferences, online "shopping cart" information, etc.
  2. Be careful what information you share with your mobile apps.  Unfortunately, apps can collect all sorts of data and transmit it to the app maker and/or third-party advertisers.  This data may be shared or sold.
  3. Don't use free Wi-Fi hotspots for anything more than general web surfing.
  4. Use a VPN, when you can.
  5. Use https, when you can.  
  6. Use a firewall.
  7. Update your software (Operation System, office suite, etc.) and mobile device OS's and apps at least monthly.

 

Published on January 02, 2017

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