In a world of 3.2 billion Internet users, is it really a surprise that approximately 1 billion records were stolen in 2014 alone? Today is Data Privacy Day, and with the help of Digital Guardian, Sun Times Network looks at how oversharing online can lead to who the biggest security risk may be: you.
Data Privacy Day started in the United States and Canada in January 2008 to expand on the users previously being helped by the Data Protection Day celebration in Europe. Convention 108, the first legally binding international treaty affiliated with privacy and data protection, was signed on Jan. 28, 1981.
Sun Times Network spoke with Ken Levine, CEO of Digital Guardian, about tips for Internet users to protect their privacy.
Shamontiel Vaughn: It is widely suggested that hackers get into accounts or figure out passwords from observing what users like. But for users who want to enjoy relevant content instead of ads that they’re not interested in, where is the happy medium?
Ken Levine: “Your digital footprint is constantly expanding as you share more information online, including status updates, geo-location info, and personal preferences/experiences. Given this, it’s important to control who’s looking at this information. Keep your social circle of friends tight and take steps to filter who is viewing your information and updates.
“Check the privacy settings on your social sites to ensure that your information is only being viewed by people you want to see it. Here are some links to help configure privacy settings for Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Instagram and SnapChat. With proper privacy settings in place on social channels, you can feel more comfortable browsing the web and enjoying relevant content targeted towards you on social media.”
SV: The infographic mentions not talking about service providers or appliance types. However, cell phone providers (ex. T-Mobile) regularly perform customer service by looking for tagged responses, mentions and direct messages. In a world where customers may not want to sit on the phone and would rather do customer service electronically, how can they be protected?
KL: “Social media is a popular channel to address customer service issues. However, best practice would be to refrain from publicly tweeting or communicating with the service provider. Instead, seek private methods, such as via direct message on social channels or online support from the provider’s website. There’s no reason to post who your providers are, what your service issue is or use geo-location tags in your posts. You’re putting yourself at risk each time you do this.”
SV: Using different passwords is recommended to avoid hackers breaking into multiple accounts. But they have to be able to find all of those passwords. Writing them down risks someone finding them. Adding them online (ex. GoogleDrive) just invites hackers to find more passwords. So where is a safe place to store them?
KL: “Store passwords in a trusted password manager, which acts as an encrypted vault for your log-in information. Some password managers even audit your passwords to make sure you’re not using the same in too many places, and all of the best password managers come with features designed to improve your security across the board.
“Password management is a critical component of protecting your accounts, online identity and sensitive information. Using unique, complex passwords for each account you own is the first step to take in ensuring that your accounts and personal information aren’t improperly accessed or exposed. Long character counts and a mix of upper and lower case letters and special characters add additional layers of complexity, making your passwords harder to crack and more secure.”
For more information on Digital Guardian, click here.