This coming Sunday, the 28th of January, is Data Privacy Day. Originally started as Data Protection Day in Europe in 2007, Data Privacy Day started here in the USA in 2008. The National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) leads the effort in making this a recognized day each year. You don’t need me to remind you that the 28th of January is the anniversary of the Council of Europe’s Convention 108 for the Protection of individuals with regard to automatic processing of personal data. In other words, the formation of what was to become GDPR today.
If you read my recent post about GDPR and data privacy you will understand that I adore the idea of having a Data Privacy Day. I plan on celebrating by rotating passwords and drilling holes in my old hard drives and devices. Seriously.
I decided that in the spirit of celebration for Data Privacy Day I would share with you some common tips, tricks, and advice on keeping your data private. You’re welcome.
24 Ways to Protect Your Data on Data Privacy Day
– Assume your data is at risk, at all times.
– Think about worse-case scenarios. What would happen if someone stole your AppleID? Walk through the scenario and take steps to minimize your risk.
– Think twice before discussing private things in public spaces, such as a coffee shop. You never know who might be listening.
– Private messages aren’t. They are stored on many servers. Everything you do online is recorded, many times, in many places.
– If it’s not a picture you want to share publicly, don’t take it. Assume everything on your phone is stored elsewhere and discoverable.
– Free email services aren’t free. You pay for the service when you consent to allow your emails to be used for targeted ads and spam.
– Free public WiFi is not secure.
– If you are using public WiFi then use a VPN. Make sure your communication channels are encrypted.
– Use a password manager such as 1Password to help manage and rotate your passwords.
– Don’t reuse passwords across multiple sites.
– Two-factor authentication is your friend and a better friend than just a strong password.
– Use different usernames across the internet. Reusing usernames allows for someone to track you and possibly gather enough data to hack into an account and even steal your online identity.
– You know those security questions that ask about your favorite food? It’s OK to make up an answer. Better yet, use a strong password for the answer.
– Your data is valuable, you have the right to keep it private. When Best Buy asks for your phone number just say no.
– Read the privacy notices for social media sites and look for the words “share” and “use”, this will tell you what they are doing with your data.
– Resist the urge to overshare. You don’t need to tell everyone where you are, where you are going, and for how long.
– Delete online accounts that you are not using. It’s OK to say goodbye to Tumblr and Flickr. In fact, if the site can’t spell, they aren’t likely to be protecting your privacy. Just avoid them.
– Avoid websites that don’t have HTTPS. It’s 2018, there’s no excuse for a website to not be using SSL.
– Think twice before clicking on the link in an email. Think three times before visiting shady (or seedy) websites.
– Shared drive services such as OneDrive make it easy to share documents. But if you email a link to one person, and someone gets access to that email, then they could have access to your files, too.
– Double check the names on that email, make sure you are sending it to the right people.
– If sending to a large group of people, consider using BCC to hide the email addresses.
– Use applications and extensions such as Disconnect.me to help avoid your online activities being tracked.
– When you dispose of old computers and devices, drill a hole through the hard drives.
Data privacy and security is important for everyone. It’s also hard work staying on top of everything necessary to protect your data. Unless you are going to move to a shack in Montana, you need to be willing to put in the effort. Otherwise, you should expect that at some point you will find yourself a victim.