Most people would never know that January 28 is actually an international holiday, but to us here in the tech world, we know it as Data Privacy Day! Going on 12 years now, data privacy day has evolved very much since its inception, however much of the same still applies today more than ever. In 2018 alone there were 1,244 publicly reported breaches in data security for just U.S. companies and its consumers.

So in celebration of Data Privacy Day, we thought it would be a great idea to go over some tips to help keep your data secure and private.

1. Passwords: This should go without saying but making your password hard to guess is one of the first examples to keep your information secure. But you shouldn’t just stop there, even with the most secure passwords can be broken, this is why it is not only recommended but also required by some corporations to change your password every 90 days. Companies do this in order to help mitigate any phishing or traceable information that could lead to discovering your password. All that being said, none of this will even matter if you share your passwords readily. Never share your password with anyone you do not know or trust. On the rare occasion that you may have to, make sure to document or note the exchange, and change passwords afterward.

  1. Malware: Unfortunately, in today’s age an extremely secure password does not guarantee 100% safety from data breaches or hackers. As our technology has progressed, so too has the progress of malicious programs otherwise known as malware. This can be in the form of adware and popups, keyloggers that track your keyboard inputs, or even the dreaded ransomware that locks your computer hostage. The most common way of getting malware is usually by visiting fake websites that are unsecured, fake email links, and downloaded programs. So the next time you want to download a cool new program or get an email asking to claim a prize with an attached link, make sure you verify the source of what you are downloading, a good way to do this is to hover your mouse over the link to see where it may lead. Be careful though as the link could be made to look like something familiar.

  1. Firewalls: With all that being said, firewalls are used by small businesses, corporations, and of course the government for a very good reason. Firewalls are what help keep your computer and network safe from outside attacks on a regular basis. Firewalls work by blocking recognized and questionable threats before they even reach you, the user. With firewalls, you can set specific parameters on what you allow into or even out of your network. In schools, for example, firewalls are not only put in place to help keep student and parent information safe but to also keep children from searching unapproved or inappropriate sites. It is said that using the internet without a firewall is the equivalent of standing outside without any clothes as you are exposed to the world without any sort of defense. Firewalls prevent this!

Thanks for reading, and we hope you may have learned a few things today regarding your data and privacy. So make sure you are diligent and careful of what you download and click!

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