Crime

Be aware of data privacy and how you navigate online world

The Internet is a tool that can simplify and improve our lives. However, everyone should be aware of potential threats and handle accordingly.

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Carmen Gonzalez Caldwell

Here is some great information from our partner Kelly Starling from AT&T about the importance of privacy and protecting personal information.

Saturday, Jan. 28 is annual Data Privacy Day. AT&T offers the following online data privacy tips from its Digital You program, designed to help you safely navigate the digital world.

Use those security settings

▪ Set a username and password to unlock your computer and check your firewall/antivirus filters to block pop-ups and harmful content. Every barrier helps.

▪ On your mobile device, make sure you use a PIN and/or thumbprint reader and set a screen lock after prolonged inactivity.

▪ Keep your devices’ operating systems and apps up-to-date to ensure you have the latest security patches.

Use strong, unique passwords and change them regularly

▪ Your accounts are safer with strong passwords and passphrases guarding the door. Use long passwords that you can remember with numbers, symbols, and a variety of upper and lower case characters.

▪ Change passwords every 3-6 months, or more often if you use public computers or Wi-Fi regularly.

▪ Use a password manager like LastPass if you have trouble remembering passwords.

▪ Key Tip: Take a song, phrase or something you’ll remember, and swap out the letters for similar numbers and symbols. (but don’t use something personal)

Careful what you share

▪ Hackers can use your social media posts to get clues that can help them guess your passwords or answers to security questions.

▪ Think before you post information about where you live, your family, your family or other identifying information publicly on social media.

▪ Key Tip: Whenever you tweet or post, make sure the location isn’t tagged. This is called “geo-tagging”

Keep your financial and personal info safe

▪ Only share credit card and personal information when buying from an established company.

▪ Always check the URL to make sure you’re on the correct site before you enter information.

▪ Avoid entering important info on public Wi-Fi networks.

Careful what you click

▪ Most people get infected when they click on a dangerous link or infected email attachment.

▪ Do not answer pop-up messages or emails that ask you to update your account information.

▪ Key Tip: If you’re suspicious about an email or a link on the web, don’t open or click it. Delete or close immediately.

Protect yourself in the cloud

▪ Digital file stores can be compromised by outsiders. If you’re uploading important personal information to cloud file servers, encrypt it (convert it to code using apps or software) before you upload.

▪ Many applications offer encryption features to help keep your information protected. Check out the tools and settings.

▪ There are also a number of easy-to-use encryption software services, like Folder Lock, for download that can help you encrypt information before uploading it.

Find more information at digitalyou.att.com can help you connect online safely and securely.

Carmen Caldwell is executive director of Citizens’ Crime Watch of Miami-Dade. Send feedback and news for this column to carmen@citizenscrimewatch.org, or call her at 305-470-1670.

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