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Your new favorite holiday… Data Privacy Day!

Posted on Jan 27, 2016 · 3 min read

35 years ago, Data Protection Day was started, and over the years has evolved into Data Privacy day. The goal of Data Privacy Day is to increase security and privacy awareness when using computers, mobile devices, and online websites. While taking about security may not seem like the most exciting way to Spend January 28th, it’s a great reminder of what each of us can be doing to keep our personal information more secure.

Here are 5 simple things that we can all do to increase our privacy and security on our favorite devices.

  1. Think before you share online – Sharing information online and over text message is easy, fast, and extremely convenient, but most of the time there is no way to tell if your connection is secure and if the person on the receiving end will take advantage of shared information in a text or email. Before you share personally identifiable information make sure you trust the person receiving it. If you’re sharing a password, it’s even a good idea to give them a temporary password and change it as soon as they are done using it.
  2. Update your phone – Software update alerts can be annoying, but they really are important and do more than just updating your phone with the latest emojis. Updates are important for fixing vulnerabilities, fixing bugs, and overall performance improvements. Installing those updates as soon as you can, can help reduce risking your privacy and personal information.
  3. Use a passcode on your phone – When setting up a phone you are prompted to set a passcode, but many of us skip over this step. Setting a password is crucial in protecting your personal information if someone were to get ahold of your phone. Set up a 4 or 6 digit PIN and create a timer within the settings so that you are prompted to enter a PIN after inactivity.
  4. Be careful with wifi – While having access to wifi in most public places is great, you can’t trust how safe the connection is. When you do have to use on the go wifi, make sure to not access anything with sensitive information like a bank account. If you do have to access sensitive information, make sure to change your password once you are back on a trusted connection. It’s also important to turn wifi off when it is not in use so that you don’t connect to just any available network without knowing.
  5. Two Step verification – Protecting your personal information with two passwords is becoming more normal these days and has proved to be an effective method in protecting your information and accounts. An example of a two-step verification process would be a website that requires your password, username, and a one-time code that gets sent to your phone, or even your fingerprint. Enabling two step verification can be extremely helpful on smartphone apps that hold your credit card or other personal information.

Since tomorrow is Data Privacy Day, celebrate by setting aside some time to update the settings on your mobile and computer – it’s worth it!


Photo credit: Flickr User Christiaan Colen

Madeline Boehmer by Madeline Boehmer