With most of us shopping, banking, sharing, and using social media online, it is important to stop and consider what personal information you are disclosing. Consider the following:

  1. Be cautious when posting and tagging photos on social media. Your friends and family may not want their images or activities shared.  Photos of innocuous items like airline boarding passes can reveal personal information, hidden in bar codes and QR codes. 
  2. Know who you’re sharing with. Limit the visibility of your social media posts to a viewership that you’re comfortable with, rather than making all posts public for the entire world to see. 
  3. Don’t disclose personal details unnecessarily. Posting the name of your first pet on Facebook might seem harmless until someone uses that as an answer to a security question to reset your banking password. Think before you share. 
  4. Enable two-factor authentication when using single sign-on from a site like Facebook or Google to log in to other sites automatically.  If your main single sign-on account is captured by hackers, all the sites that also rely on that login are at risk. Two-factor authentication (2FA) uses an additional authentication step, like communicating with your smartphone, to verify your identity. 
  5. Don’t reuse passwords. Hackers make use of lists of exposed passwords and try them against different accounts, knowing that people often use a single password for different accounts. To make this easier, use a password manager like LastPass to create and remember secure, unique passwords for all your accounts. 

Learn more

Want to learn more about protecting yourself?  The Electronic Frontier Foundation offers advice at https://ssd.eff.org/en/module/protecting-yourself-social-networks about steps you can take to manage your online presence. 

A guide to managing privacy and security settings in software and on social networks is maintained by The National Cyber Security Alliance at https://staysafeonline.org/stay-safe-online/managing-your-privacy/manage-privacy-settings/

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