We are constantly using apps, web browsers, social media and other online services that collect troves of data about us. A common adage you may have heard is that "if you're not paying for the product, you are the product." That has never been as true as it is today. While free services may seem convenient, you frequently sacrifice control over what data is collected and who it is shared with. All types of information about your location, health, personal interests, purchases you make online, and more, can fall into the hands of untrusted and unknown entities.
Participating in the digital world makes it challenging to control your data, but you can more mindfully manage your data with these simple steps:
Take a Data Privacy Self-Assessment.
How do your cyber skills rank when it comes to data privacy? Put your knowledge to the test by taking the National Privacy Test.
Understand the privacy/convenience tradeoff.
Consider what information online service providers are requesting. Weigh it against the benefits you may receive in return.
Read the terms of service or data sharing policies to make informed decisions about sharing your data with businesses.
Delete unused apps.
Be wary of apps or services that require access to information that is not relevant to their services.
Adjust privacy settings to your comfort level.
Check the privacy and security settings on web services and apps.
Set them to your comfort level for information sharing.
Get started with NCA’s Manage Your Privacy Settings page to check the settings of social media accounts, retail stores, apps and more.
Protect your data.
Passwords: create long unique passwords and store them in a password manager (see OIT’s Password Managers page for more details).
MFA: consider enabling multi-factor authentication (see the Identity and Access Management page for more details).
Phishing: recognize and report phishing (see OIT’s Phishing Emails page for more details).
Update: update the software on your computer or phone with the latest updates.