Technology

Keep Your Digital Privacy

Mark your (online) calendars – Digital Privacy Day  – and Week – is coming up!

How’s Your Digital Privacy?

You may have noticed ads popping up on your Facebook page for products or services you just happened to search for, like bathroom remodeling or face creams.  This is the tip of a very deep iceberg when it comes to data privacy.

Protect Your Data Privacy

To protect your data, first do the obvious simple things.

  • When your phone or computer prompts you to download the latest security update, download it, don’t put it off, especially for Windows.  Here’s why it’s so important.
  • Update your passwords like everyone keeps telling you to do.
  • And be wary of scammers They are getting more and more sophisticated these days.

Unwanted ads for products are an inconvenience.  Getting credit card, social security or bank data stolen is a disaster.  

Your goal is to prevent any important data from being hacked.  Unwanted ads for products are an inconvenience.  Getting credit card, social security or bank data stolen is a disaster.   Here are a few simple, relatively easy ways, to protect yourself.

More ways to protect your data 

  • Use virus protection on your Android phone as well as your computer.  Mac computers are less vulnerable to viruses and malware, but that’s becoming less true as hackers get ever more sophisticated;  here is the lowdown on virus protection for Macs. PC’s are still vulnerable even though Windows has stepped up virus protection.  Here’s is a great guide to the best virus software for PCs.   If you already have Malwarebytes for malware you’re home free, it now offers a complete virus prevention.

Even your flashlight app could be selling your data.

  • Enable two-step verification for all sites that have any important data, like banks, credit cards, investment accounts, etc. As this article explains,  two-step verification involves using your email or cell phone to receive a code which you can put into the site to verify your identity.
  • Beware of hackers; they use all kinds of tricks to get your data.  Common scams: Popups that warn you to click on them to solve some security or other computer problem.  NEVER click on a popup you don’t recognize.  Emails that seem to be from a familiar company, like your bank, and want you to provide your social security number, bank account number or other private info.  Always check email return addresses for the https:// which is the security certificate, and then the name of the company that you recognize plus .com.
  • Browse in incognito mode. It’s a simple way to  open another window and prevent websites from placing cookies on your browser and targeting you with more ads.
  • Get rid of non-vital apps on your phone. You can access just about every site from a browser.  Apps sell all kinds of data.  Even your flashlight app could be selling your data.  Here’s a list of Android apps to avoid.

But Don’t let it stop you!

Many seniors are so paranoid about being hacked or tracked that they refuse to shop online or stay off the internet completely.  This is unwise.  There are simply too many facets of modern life conducted on the internet today.  The convenience is totally worth it.    It IS possible to protect yourself, but you do have to pay attention, and get used to the reality that–unlike in real life–where the default is to trust strangers, on the internet it’s the opposite.

 

 

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