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Keeping your data safe and understanding how it is collected, shared and used can be overwhelming. Check out the tips below to help you manage your personal information and stay informed about who receives your data and what they are doing with it.

Treat Your Data Like Gold

  • Personal info is like money: Value it. Protect it. Personal information, such as your purchase history, IP address or location, has tremendous value to businesses – just like money. Make informed decisions about whether or not to share your data with certain businesses by considering the amount of personal information they are asking for, and weighing it against the benefits you may receive in return.
  • Keep tabs on your apps: Many apps ask for access to personal information, such as your geographic location, contacts list and photo album, before you can use their services. Be thoughtful about who gets that information, and wary of apps that require access to information that is not required or relevant for the services they are offering. Delete unused apps on your internet-connect devices and keep others secure by performing updates. 
  • Take care when shopping online: Online shopping is a convenient and generally safe way to shop, but keep your guard up and remember to follow security protocols. Avoid doing your shopping on unsecured, public Wi-Fi networks, which can leave your personal devices and stored card information at risk. Remember that fake websites and ads are everywhere, loaded with malware and enticing customers to input their debit and credit card information. Rather than clicking these ads, research the company using your preferred search engine. Look for the “lock” and the “https” – the padlock on the URL bar and the “s” in “https” ensure the website is secure.
  • Manage your privacy settings: Check the privacy and security settings on web services and apps and set them to your comfort level for information sharing. Each device, application or browser you use will have different features to limit how and with whom you share information. Get started with National Cyber Security Alliance's Manage Your Privacy Settings page:
  • Choose trusted online retailers and apps: Always shop with trusted online retailers. If you find a new store you'd like to do business with, but are unsure about its reputation, try to find reviews from trusted sources such as the Better Business Bureau. It's important to stick to trusted review sources because there are several ways to fake online reviews, and there are places where cybercriminals can pay other criminals to post positive reviews. Even though an untrusted site might have the best prices, it's worth it to use a trusted online store that is known to safeguard your information and purchases. 

    The same advice applies when downloading any types of apps to help with your online shopping - it's important to stick to trusted apps from known developers. Unfortunately, fake apps appear in the app stores, pretending to be from a trusted source, while other apps exist to capture your data without providing the services they claim to offer. You can avoid many malicious apps by downloading yours from Google Play, Apple App Store, Microsoft Store, or another trusted platform, and making sure you carefully read the permissions and app reviews. 
  • Never use a public computer when shopping or banking: Using a public computer, like those found at libraries, can expose you to greater risk. It's best to use a trusted home device and network for anything involving financial transactions.
  • Never shop or conduct banking on unencrypted or public Wi-Fi: It's best to always conduct financial transactions or log on to sensitive accounts via a trusted Wi-Fi network. Ideally, this should be from your home network, which should require a password and use WPA2 encryption. 

Go to Cape Cod 5's Security Center

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