What should I do to secure my online privacy?

Privacy and personal security are of paramount importance to everyone in this age of digital communication exchange.  


The reality is that many us have absolutely no concept of how vulnerable we are, whether at work or at home. 


You might think you are of little interest to cyber criminals and you probably aren't as an individual.  But the bad guys go by the ‘law of large numbers.’ You might think you are not relevant to the bad guys, but if they can capture your personal information, plus that of another 1,000, or let's say 100,000 or greater, it generates the interest of those who can use it to their advantage and your detriment.


On September 22, 2016, Yahoo confirmed a massive security breach in 2014 that saw hackers steal information from over 500-million accounts. What did they steal?  According to Fortune, “Data may have included names, email addresses, telephone number, date of birth, and encrypted passwords.” Including information that represents your identity and any correspondence or personal information you may have shared.

So how can you protect yourself?

According to Staysafeonline.org, “Passwords are like the keys to your personal home online.”  Jaqueline Beauchere, Board President of Staysafeonline.org and Chief Online Safety Officer for Microsoft, recently launched the sixth year of National Cyber Security Awareness Month in early October. Their campaign slogan is called “Stop, Think, Connect,” and she is a solid advocate of internet security protection.


Password security is perhaps the greatest security you have. Here are some key tips to ensure that your password prevents access to your information.

  • Don't use any information that can be traced back to you.  For example, your parents name or your birth date are easy access to anyone running simple identification software.
  • Many experts recommend a minimum of 8 characters in your password that include letters, numbers and symbols. By adding numbers and symbols, not just letters in a combination of elements that are not personally associated is much more difficult to crack. 
  • Never use the same password for multiple accounts.  Each password should be unique to the site you are accessing.  The passwords to your financial institution and your e-mail account should be considerably different.
  • Use a trusted provider to create unique and singular passwords, like the Norton Identity Safe Password Generator. This free tool creates highly secure passwords that are very difficult to crack or guess plus store these passwords in a secure environment.  
  • Never, ever disclose your account passwords verbally or in writing. Password disclosure simply opens the door to someone else being able to hack and obtain your personal access information.
  • Utilize online password manager programs where your passwords are encrypted and hidden from others.
  • Change your passwords frequently.  New algorithms will look for repetition so remain vigilante and proactive. Even if something is stolen it will no longer be valid or allow accessibility to your personal information if it is changed regularly.
  • Always run security protection.  The best security you can have is your own vigilance, but the operation of a recognized security platform like Norton Security will protect against the hidden threats that are far more prevalent than one can imagine. 

There are critical and necessary steps you can take.  But if you are faced with a real physical threat you would dial 911 for the assistance of the first Privacy and personal security are of paramount importance to everyone in this age of digital communication exchange.  


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