Jan 28

Feds offer tips to keep your data safe and private

Fiber optics background with lots of light spots

Fiber optics background with lots of light spots

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Department of Homeland Security talked about tips to keep your online data private and safe.

Andy OzmentAssistant Secretary, Cybersecurity and Communications, talked about this important subject which affects millions of Americans:

Data Privacy Day is an annual international effort to create awareness about the importance of privacy and the protection of personal information.

In today’s connected world, we share more personal information online than ever before. And it happens not only when we’re sitting at our computers, but also when we use our mobile devices to shop, bank, conduct business, and connect with loved ones. These activities often require the use of personal information such as our names, email addresses, credit card information, and other sensitive details. However, when this information falls into the wrong hands, it can be exploited and used to steal our identities and money. As sharing personal information online becomes commonplace, it is increasingly critical to take steps to protect our personal data and privacy.

Protecting your personal information can appear to be a daunting task, but there are simple steps all Americans can take to protect themselves and their privacy online. Start with these tips from the Stop.Think.Connect. campaign, the Department of Homeland Security’s national cybersecurity awareness effort:

  • Secure your devices. Take advantage of screen locks, passwords, and fingerprint recognition capabilities to secure your smartphones, tablets, and computers.
  • Set strong passwords. Make your passwords complex and change them regularly.
  • Own your digital life. Think carefully about what you post online. Everything you put on the internet – photos, tweets, and blogs – will be out there for people to see forever. Take ownership of your digital life by only posting what you want to be seen.
  • Customize the settings on your accounts and apps. Many accounts and apps include default settings that encourage users to share more types of information. Check your account settings to ensure that your information is only visible to people whom you authorize.
  • Think before you act. Be wary of communications that offer something that sounds too good to be true, ask for personal information, or suggest you click on links or open attachments. Such communications may contain malware or redirect you to potentially malicious websites.

Today, on Data Privacy Day, and throughout the year, we encourage all Americans to weigh the benefits and risks of sharing information online, to understand how their information is being used, and to take steps to protect their identities and personal data.

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