Four ways to protect your personal data

4 steps to protecting data

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Protecting your personal data may seem like as common sense a suggestion as locking your car doors, but just like thousands of unlocked cars are stolen every year, millions of consumers this year who think their data is safe are in for a nasty surprise.

“The adversary, the bad guys are constantly looking for ways to manipulate vulnerabilities,” says Kelvin Coleman, Executive Director of the National Cyber Security Alliance.

The NCSA is declaring Monday January 28th as Data Privacy Day; you can look at it as the one day each year you set aside an hour or less to double check how secure your valuable information is.

“The more you protect it, the more you treat it like valuable money, the more secure you’ll be,” Coleman says.

Here’s four steps to protect your data:

  1. Lock down your login: Use a phrase that includes letters, numbers, and some punctuation, and switch it up. “Use a password phrase,” Coleman advises. "I’m teaching my own children to implement password phrases so they can remember that. So perhaps instead of an "e" you put a dollar sign, instead of "1″ you put an "!" so you have your own little code."
  2. Think before you share: that includes being careful about which games or social media sites you choose to engage with.  
  3. Own your online presence: Check the privacy settings on all the apps you use most---you can find those in the app settings or your phone settings, make sure you’re being proactive because many apps will default to sharing more than you may want.
  4. Keep your machines clean: Install new software or hardware updates when they’re issued. Yes it can be annoying, but--“Keeping a clean machine, making sure your machine is patched is a very effective way to not only make sure you’re protected, but also protecting everyone on your network that you’re connected to,” Coleman warns.

For a detailed explanation of how to personalize your Facebook privacy settings, check out the video below:

VIDEO: How to personalize your Facebook privacy settings

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