Individual Cyber Security

What is Data Privacy and Why Does it Matter?

4 Minute Read

Data Privacy Tips and Reminders

  • Control what data your apps have access to. It’s important to review privacy settings and permissions for the apps you use and to be sure to delete the apps you don’t use anymore. For each app, ask what data is really needed to function. For example, does a video game really need access to your contacts?
  • Control what data “leaks,” or is posted onto social media. Before you post anything to a social media platform, ask yourself what information it reveals about you. Even photos might accidentally reveal sensitive information like a password in the background or a detail that a cybercriminal might use for a targeted phishing attack (e.g., your favorite vacation spot). Ask yourself: What valuable information are you giving away?
  • Control who can see your data on social media. Turn off public sharing on social media, therefore ensuring only people whose friend requests you’ve accepted can see your posts. Also, make sure you only accept requests from people you can verify. Each social media platform has different options for controlling who can see your data, so review each one that you use.
  • Control which companies and services can track you across the web. “Cookies” are files that your computer stores after you visit a website, and they are used to “remember” who visits their sites, and to make your browsing easier. However, cookies are also used by advertisers and social media companies to track users across different sites, creating detailed profiles of their browsing habits.
    • To control which sites can track you, look up browser-specific instructions for reviewing and deleting the cookies on your machine.
    • If you want to control your browsing history more effectively, consider subscribing to a Virtual Private Network (VPN) service, which will prevent legitimate and malicious third parties from gathering valuable information on your online behavior.

Now is the perfect time to consider your data privacy.  Take a moment to consider your online footprint and what information you might be sharing online.