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January 28, 2020

Data Privacy Day: 6 Tips to Secure Your Data

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Every year, on January 28th, countries around the world celebrate Data Privacy Day. The holiday came about as a way to commemorate the signing of Convention 108 in 1981. Convention 108 was the first legally binding international agreement that focused on citizen privacy and data protection. The resulting annual holiday was first celebrated in North America in 2008. It aims to spread awareness about how our personal information is being collected, shared, and used by third-parties in the age of modern technology. Throughout the year, other organizations, such as the National Cyber Security Alliance, also work to educate citizens about how to protect their personal information. In addition to education, these organizations champion new and updated legislation surrounding citizen protections. In honour of Data Privacy Day, here are a few tips on how to secure your information:

  • Use safe shopping practices
  • Enable two-factor authentication
  • Update all software
  • Use a password manager
  • Only connect to safe wi-fi networks
  • Limit the information you share on social media

Use Safe Shopping Practices

Online shopping is perhaps one of the best things to arise in the digital age. With only a few clicks, we can order masses of products and have them delivered to our front doors in days. However, online shopping also poses privacy risks. In order to conduct our transactions, we have to trust retailers with our financial information. Buying from a business with poor encryption standards or, worse yet, a spoof business created with the sole purpose of stealing your data, can have devastating consequences. In order to increase your security, visit trustworthy websites directly (in other words, type the URL in yourself, rather than relying on links from other places to get there), and only shop on websites that use SSL security, which is currently the most modern standard of encryption.

Enable Two-Factor Authentication

Masses of online accounts now offer two-factor authentication, meaning the account requires a password and a secondary code sent via phone or email to access. If you use a website or app that allows you to enable this setting, take this Data Privacy Day to do just that. Even if you use a secure password, there always remains the chance that your password could be stolen and your account hacked. However, that risk drops significantly with two-factor authentication because the chances of a hacker also having access to the secondary code are immensely slim.

Update All Software

Old software poses a risk to personal privacy. That’s because hackers are often able to find vulnerabilities in software that allows them to steal user data. The businesses behind the software are aware of that issue, however, so as soon as a vulnerability is found, they release an updated version to protect against it. By having outdated software, you’re missing out on these crucial security updates.

Start Using a Password Manager on Data Privacy Day

Often, the most secure account passwords are strings of unintelligible letters, numbers, and symbols. However, it’s almost impossible to remember these passwords for every account, so most people instead choose to use a less secure but more memorable option. Instead of risking privacy for convenience, use a password manager to store all of your log in information. Password managers are secure digital vaults that keep track of your passwords for you, so you never have to worry about forgetting them again.

Only Connect to Safe Wi-Fi Networks

Public wi-fi is great when you want to browse the web without using your own cellular data. However, public wi-fi is also great for hackers who want to steal personal information. In general, all activity conducted on a public network can be seen by anyone else using that network. That means log in information, financial details, and more are all at risk if you use public wi-fi. In general, it’s safest to use your data. If you absolutely have to use a public network, connect to a VPN first to encrypt your session.

Limit the Information You Share on Social Media

Social media is the perfect place to connect with friends and family, but it’s also a pitfall for privacy. Unlike what happens in Vegas, the things that happen on social media don’t always stay there. That’s why you should limit the information you share online. Sharing vacation pictures before you return home tells people that your house is empty. Captioning a photo with your dog’s name potentially gives people the answer to security questions for other accounts. Always think before you post.

Data Privacy Day is on January 28th but you can celebrate and follow best privacy practices every day of the year.

To protect yourself further, browse the web privately and safely with HotBot.com.

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