Top 5 Ways to Secure Your Private Data

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Every time you fill out a form (paper or online), click on an ad, or interact on social media, bits and pieces of you – data – are being collected. If the information being harvested isn’t something you’d share with a stranger, like your name, for instance, that’s data that needs to be protected. As the world celebrates Data Privacy Day on January 28, we take a look at simple things you can do to keep your “bits and pieces” from falling into the wrong hands. 

1) Password-protect all your devices. Don’t make it easy on a thief if they steal your laptop, tablet, or mobile phone. Always require a password to get in. And speaking of passwords… 

2) Change up your usernames and passwords. Never use the same credentials in multiple places. If your username and password are stolen, it’s that much easier for digital thugs to break into other accounts you own. Security experts offer a new way of thinking about passwords – create a “passphrase” instead. Pick between three and five random words, then insert some numbers and special characters between the words. You throw in some random capitalization, too. So if selected book, tree, and hat as your three words, the passphrase might look like this: book!Tree4haT.  

3) Stop banking at the coffee shop with their WiFi. Many coffee shops and other public gathering spots provide a relaxed setting to enjoy your latte. It’s a perfect time to do your banking or maybe buy a few things online. That’s fine, as long as you are NOT using a shared, unsecured WiFi connection. So go ahead and sip your beverage as you pay a few bills online. Just make sure you use your own device and secured network. 

4) Beware of random texts about deliveries or bank account issues. Hit the pause button before you take action. Often these scammers are counting on you having a knee-jerk reaction to bad news. They have various techniques for collecting your personal data. They could ask you to enter account details in a return text or they could send you to a bogus spoofed website where they will ask for that information.  

5) Keep up with updates. Be sure you update your devices with the latest software provided by the vendor. Anything you can do to make it harder for cybercriminals to get to you and your data needs to be done! More often than not, software updates include security patches in addition to bug fixes and improvements to user experience. 
 
Although one day a year is called Data Privacy Day, safeguarding your personal information is a year-round job. For more security tips, visit psecu.com/security and search our blog for security articles.  

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