On National Data Privacy Day, it's important to inform the public of how crucial it is to protect your privacy from companies and hackers. Let me begin with defining a term I will be using a lot: Personally Identifiable Information (PII). PII is a combination of data points that can lead to the identification of an individual. Examples of these are: email addresses, Social Security Number, driver's license number, bank account number, passport number, etc.
The age old method that hackers use to score your private information is by phishing. Streamline Networks always reminds our clients to check the domain (everything after the @ in an email address) to confirm its legitimacy, and to never, ever, click on a link to fill out personal information. These hackers rely on people simply not paying attention to the email senders and content of the email. By entering your personal information, or downloading attachments from the suspicious emails, you have now compromised yourself and anyone on your network.
A somewhat new problem with data privacy arouse not too long ago when it was discovered how much of people's PII is recorded by companies (Facebook and Google being the biggest offenders) and sold off for a profit. Your data would then be studied by third parties, refining the data to target people with specific products or information. For example, typing into Google 'lose weight', and receive correspondence from diet companies and gyms.
In response to personal data being sold off, California passed the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) aimed at enhancing privacy rights and consumer protection for residents of California. CCPA requires California residents the right to:
Know what personal data is being collected
Know whether their personal data is sold
Say no to the sale of personal data
Access their personal data
Request a business to delete any personal information about a consumer collected from that consumer
Not be discriminated against for exercising their privacy rights
While passing the CCPA is a step in the right direction, most of the responsibility still lies on the user-- you. A few ways of keeping your data privacy private that you might consider:
Use a password manager. Keep your passwords somewhere safe, preferably not on the same network. Change your passwords every few months, and never make them something like birth dates or names.
Check your privacy settings. Look at your social media and see what is being made public and what is being kept private. perhaps you don't need your phone number displayed on your Facebook profile.
Review permissions for mobile apps and browser extensions. You've played Candy Crush, let's accept it. Many mobile apps ask you to give them permissions to access contacts or files, to use camera and microphone, and geolocation. Control what access you give them!
Update your system and software. Your protection is always in mind when operation systems are patched.
Encrypt! Try to encrypt as much as you can whether it be through messaging or at your company.
Avoid unknown links. Never click anything you don't recognize, and don't fill out any information.
Stay on private Wi-Fi networks. I'm looking at you, Starbucks.
If you can't stay on private networks, stay private on public networks. Don't share any sensitive data while drinking coffee at Starbucks.
If you feel like you or your business aren't reaching the full potential of maintaining your client's information, employee information, or your information completely protected, feel free to each with us about how we're keeping you secure and how you can make yourself more secure.