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  • Writer's pictureBurton Kelso, Tech Expert

How Can You Protect Your Personal Data?

International Data Privacy Day takes place every year on the 28th of January. The purpose of this day is the raise awareness and improve the knowledge of individuals, home businesses, and small businesses on how to protect their crucial data and how to stay safe online. The sad truth is that there are people who lurk online and want to take advantage of you and your data. Cybercrime is a human problem; the only way cyber attacks will stop is if more people are educated on how they can keep their information safe. Here are some tips to help.

When it comes to protecting your data, it helps if you know what items you should be watching out for. If you're not sure, here's what you need to keep an eye out for:

Information you need to protect:

Full names and maiden names

Personal ID Numbers

Debit Credit Card Information

Full address

Phone Numbers

Vehicle ID Numbers

Cybercriminals are always looking for new ways to get into your data. Check out some of the tops scams you need to watch for:

Social Engineering. Cybercrime is a human problem. This means criminals are attacking you as opposed to getting into your computer with phishing schemes to trick you into reacting to the various scams that show up on your devices.

Social Media Account Hacks. You probably don't think your social media account are vulnerable to hacks, but they are. It's amazing how weak passwords can allow criminals to gain access to your digital marketing accounts as well as any financial information connected to those accounts.

Hacked Email Accounts. You're probably storing important correspondence in the various folders in your email accounts. Can you imagine what would happen if criminals gained access to that information?

Fake Tax Return Filings. You don't hear about tax fraud, but it still is a popular way for criminals to get your information.

Hacked Bank Accounts. When I am talking about hacked banking accounts, it's a warning to all of you to make sure you are using strong passwords for your accounts. Financial institutions have the strongest cyber protection, which means if you want to keep your accounts protected, it's up to you.

Fake Credit Card Charges. Watch where you spend your money. There have been many instances where your friends and family have been taken advantage of because of weak point-of-sale terminals and shady retailers.

What Can you Do to Protect Your Online Privacy? It's fairly simple to protect your data. Use the following steps.

Know Your Rights. Many states are enacting privacy laws to make companies share what data they have on you. Do a simple Google search to see how your state handles data protection.

Clear Your Cookies. Cookies themselves aren't bad, but when you visit other websites, those websites can scan the cookies on your devices and learn information about you. Keep your information safe by clearing out your cookies on a regular basis, or surf in 'InPrivate' or 'Incognito mode' on your favorite browser.

Use Browsers like Brave and Firefox. Brave, Firefox, and Opera are web browsers that don't scan your data like Edge and Chrome. If you don't want big technology companies scanning and sharing your data, you should use browser companies that don't share your data.

Use Search engines like DuckDuckGO or Startpage. If you're attached to using Chrome or Edge, you could use a search engine that doesn't gather your internet searches. DuckDuckGo and Startpage are good alternatives to keep your information safe.

Stop the practice of using passwords and use passphrases. Passphrases are the best protection of your online accounts. phrases like 'StinkyDuckSoup529!' or 'BitterCarpetSalad830!' are great examples of passphrases. Easy to remember and they will keep your accounts safe.

Enable two-factor authentication on all online accounts. Two Factor or 2 Step Authentication makes it harder for criminals to get access to your accounts because they require two forms of authentication.

Beware of your SmartTech. Devices like iRobot, Google Home, and Alexa Echo. SmartTech like Smart Home hubs always listens to what you are saying. That's fine if you're just having regular conversations but not if you're having sensitive ones. Just be careful what information you share when you're around them.

Hopefully, this has given you an explanation of the importance of Data Protection Day and how it impacts you. Always make sure you're keeping track of your data and do all you can to keep it safe. If you need further assistance, please reach out to me with any questions you might have. I am always happy to help!

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