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Protecting Your Privacy in the Digital Age

December 8, 2016

Privacy protection today can seem like a daunting task.   We are so interconnected and constantly using different methods of technology that privacy protection seems like a full-time job. We have passwords to access different accounts, browse hundreds of websites, and utilize WiFi from several devices and numerous servers. Although it seems almost impossible to be completely protected from online hackers and identity thieves, there are some things you can do to protect your personal information. 

Passwords and Screen-locks:  Use longer passwords for access to email accounts and phones.  The longer the password, the more difficult it will be to crack.  Further, make sure that your passwords are not too personal.  When you use numbers such as your birth date, or other passwords that identify you, you are making it more likely your password can be broken.  Instead, be unique and use passwords that do not make sense.  If need be, use a password manager to keep track of passwords that you find difficult to commit to memory, or write them down on a piece of paper. 

Protecting your device:  There are different ways to protect your privacy both at home and on the go.  While at home, you can combat devices that may spy on your activities by covering your webcam with tape or a sticky note; replacing your default service set identifier for your home network, while being sure your update does not identify you;  hide your Wi-Fi network; Turn off remote management for your home router, or simply shut it off altogether if you are not at home; make sure your router is making updates, and if possible get an new router.  While you are away: Put up the Firewall on your computer; when you’re on public WiFi, turn off file sharing; when you join a new WiFi network, add it to your public profile so your computer forgets the network once you log off.

Online activity: From Facebook to email, to websites, there is a plethora of ways to release private details online.  In order to ensure you are not over-sharing on websites like Facebook, turn on log-in approvals or two-factor authentication depending on the website.  Also, turn off “location services” on your phone so that your whereabouts are not tracked.  Further, if you access your Facebook settings you can find ways to hide more of your information, leave groups you do not want access to your information, and prevent people from finding your Facebook through web browsers. You can control what information is collected about you on other websites as well, including Google.  Check the settings of the websites you use frequently to see if they have privacy settings you can tailor to your needs.   While browsing the Internet, check links on “link checker” sites before clicking on them, and try to use “https” sites as often as possible because they have encryption.

There are several other ways you can protect your privacy, but these are some simple things you can incorporate into your daily life.  Taking even a few of the steps above can go a long way toward protecting your personal information in the digital age.

Call us at 716-636-7600 if you have any questions.