You leave digital footprints wherever you go on the internet. It’s important to ensure that these footprints contain only what you intend to share. Protect yourself from both embarrassment and identity theft with these tips.
Have a variety of unique passwords. Yes, it’s a lot of extra effort to make complicated unique passwords for every account. But that extra effort on your part makes your passwords much harder to crack. Isn’t your safety worth a few additional seconds of your time?
Change your passwords often. At E-town, we require that your password be changed every 120 days to protect your account from hackers. This is a vital policy to follow for all important accounts. The more often you change your password, the more difficult it is for those with malicious intent to intrude.
Use a password manager. This will allow you to manage unique passwords for every site. Giving a third party access to your passwords may seem counterintuitive after the constant reminders to never share your password. But using a password manager is like keeping your money in a bank. It’s a secure place to store your data, and it’s harder for people with malicious intent to get into. ITS recommends LastPass or Dashlane for a simple password managing experience.
Check your privacy settings. Is your Facebook set to post publicly, or just for your friends? Check the privacy settings on all your social medias. Make sure that you’re only sharing what you intend to share.
Don’t share your personal information too quickly. Even though your birthday and phone number seem like trivial pieces of information, they can still be used to identify you. When a site asks you for this information, take a minute to consider if giving this data to that site is warranted.
Your work/life balance applies online too. You should always keep your personal accounts and your work accounts separate. For example, make sure to have a personal email and a work email. That way, changing jobs won’t affect your communication with your buddies about your fantasy football league. Also, your employer has the right to access your work email at any point, so it’s a good idea to use an outside service for personal matters.
Remember that everything online is essentially public. It doesn’t matter if you’ve checked the box to keep your posts private or not. If a hacker really wants your data, the hacker will get your data. Before you post anything, take a minute to remember the billboard test. Would you be okay with putting your post on a billboard? If not, don’t share!
Watch this brief video to learn some basic practices for online privacy!