"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:
- When available, use 2-factor authentication on all your accounts.
- Don't re-use passwords.
- Don't re-use variations of the same password.
- Always use letters, numbers, different capitalizations, and, when available, special characters.
- Longer passwords are better. NEVER less than 10 characters.
- When possible, use different usernames between different websites.
- Be aware of phishing attempts!
- Use Signal (open source for Android and iOS) for messaging.
- When possible, encrypt your data.
- When possible, encrypt your disk drives.
- When possible, use encrypted thumb drives.
- Be careful what you post publicly on social media. You can always make accounts or posts private.
- Prevent search engines from indexing your Facebook account by disabling this option in Facebook privacy settings.
- 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.
- 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.
- Be careful what you download.
- Be careful who you share files with.
- Scan every file you download with an antivirus program.
- Sharing via Google Drive or Dropbox is OK but sacrifices privacy. Google, Amazon and Dropbox can shut down your account at any time.
- Don't use Google is you're searching for something sensitive.
- We www.startpage.com or www.duckduckgo.com for more privacy when conducting a web search.
A Few More Thoughts:
- Delete your browser cookies often. These can include information such as login or registration identification, user preferences, online "shopping cart" information, etc.
- 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.
- Don't use free Wi-Fi hotspots for anything more than general web surfing.
- Use a VPN, when you can.
- Use https, when you can.
- Use a firewall.
- Update your software (Operation System, office suite, etc.) and mobile device OS's and apps at least monthly.