Expert Insights for Data Privacy Week 2024: Guarding Your Digital Footprint
January 25, 2024
Table of Contents
Data Privacy Week is not just a time for awareness but for action. As the leader in data privacy solutions, we’ve compiled tips from renowned tech/privacy influencers to elevate your digital safety. This collection of expert advice is tailored to help you make informed decisions in the complex world of online data.
Understanding Your Digital Footprint
Most people probably know that their information can be found online, but they likely aren’t aware of how easy it is to find it, or how it got there in the first place. From social media platforms and shopping sites to search engines and communication apps, your digital footprint is constantly expanding. Every click, like, and share contributes to a collage of data that companies may collect, analyze, and potentially misuse.
With a quick Google search using your name and location, you can most likely find your home address, phone number, email address and information about your relatives. Your Personal Identifiable Information (PII) is posted online by data brokers that crawl the web for personal information of consumers, and then compile it into easy-to-find profiles. Data brokers assemble these profiles using information from a variety of sources like government records, self reported information (signing up for a sweepstakes, for example), social media, or even other data brokers.
Here are some great tips from our friends on how to prepare for Data Privacy Week 2024.
Protecting Your PII
Think before you post! When you post something on social media, ask yourself the question: “Could someone use this information against me?” Be super careful when posting pictures of your house, your kids, the school they attend, your car’s registration details, and any other identifying information. Once it is out there, it is almost impossible to completely erase it from the internet. You never know who is watching!
Using the “Could someone use this information against me?” rule of thumb from Liron Segev is a great way to mitigate theyour risk of your PII being exploited.
Another great tip is to use a unique email address for personal communications only:
To protect your privacy, get a new, private email address that is not used to create logins or sign up for deals and is only shared with close friends and family. This way, you can insulate your private communication and keep that address off the searchable internet.
Your PII is commonly linked to the PII of your family members. By educating them on the potential risks of data exposure, and ways to protect their privacy, they can, in turn, help to reduce your risk of data exposure and exploitation.
Parents, do not share personally identifiable information about your children on social media (i.e., full names, birthdates, addresses, schools, etc.) and check the privacy settings of your social media accounts.
It may be a hassle, but keeping up to date with the privacy policies of your social media platforms is necessary in order to reduce the risk of your personal data falling into the wrong hands.
Tip: Use a service like tosdr.org to grade the privacy policies of your social media platforms, and provide easy-to-understand elements of privacy policies.
Lock down your social media accounts! Unless you’re a public figure, there’s no reason that you should risk exposing all of this personal data on the internet. If you have a Facebook account, be sure that only your friends (not friends of friends!) can view your posts, photos and connections. On Instagram, make your account private. On Twitter, protect your posts so that only your friends can see them (it’s in the privacy settings). It only takes a few minutes of digging through the settings of each of these social media accounts, but it makes a profound difference for your data privacy online.
Hackers and ID thieves can learn a ton about you just by looking at your social media profiles. They may be able to obtain parts of your personal information via the dark web or data breaches, and then use your social media profiles in order to piece together the full picture that they need to commit fraud or identity theft.
Never answer security questions truthfully! “What was your high school mascot?” “What’s your mother’s maiden name?” “What’s the model of your first car?” These questions are easy to find via social media so a malicious actor can easily find these answers (or make an educated guess!) to reset passwords or gain access to online accounts. If you’re forced to fill out these forms, answer these questions with entries that are randomly generated by a password manager or are not truthful. Keep the attackers guessing.
Whether you rent or own your home, you have some type of insurance policy to protect your belongings in the case that something goes wrong. You lock your front door to ensure that people without the keys to your home can’t get inside. You should do the same with your personal information.
1. Guarding your data is as vital as locking your front door. A quick and easy step you can take today is to regularly update your passwords. Treat them like toothbrushes – change them every few months. It’s a simple habit that builds a strong defense against unwanted intruders.”
2. As a former CIA officer, I’ve learned the value of discretion. Treat your online data with the same level of caution. Enable two-factor authentication whenever possible; it’s like having an extra lock on your digital door. This simple step can significantly enhance your data’s security, adding an additional layer that deters unwanted access.
As you navigate the intricacies of the digital world, Data Privacy Week serves as a timely reminder that your online privacy is worth protecting. By understanding the importance of online privacy and actively participating in initiatives like Data Privacy Week, you can contribute to the creation of a digital world where personal information is respected, safeguarded, and used responsibly. Join us in celebrating Data Privacy Week by taking concrete steps to protect your digital information, and empower others to do the same.