Developing Habitual Data Privacy Practices


  Developing Habitual Data Privacy Practices

Protecting your personal data from hackers, snoopers, and other nefarious characters is crucial. In this article we will explore the steps you can take to create a sustainable habit that ensures your data stays private.

Having just one more password for all your accounts can be difficult to remember and hard to keep updated. There are many apps that let you generate passwords so they are easy to recall such as LastPass, Dashlane, and Keepassx (which stores them offline).

It's also important to be aware of the risk of trojans or what is known as 'phishing'. This is when hackers try to gain access to as much personal data as possible from you so they can commit identity theft. According to the Federal Trade Commission, there are over 500 different phishing websites that have been created in an attempt to capture user information.

Be sure and set up a unique password for each site. This keeps your personal information safe, and means if you need to change one account password, all other sites must be changed too. For example, if you set up your webmail with Gmail, then also make sure you use a new password on and any other sites where you have accounts.

This is called 'strong password hygiene' and basically it means using a different password for each of your online accounts. When you create your passwords, there are several good guidelines to follow:

Strong Password Hygiene Guidelines:

Passwords must be at least 8 characters long and contain at least one number, one symbol, and each of uppercase and lowercase characters. Avoid common words or dictionary phrases. Include at least one number or symbol in the mix to prevent brute force attacks from guessing your password. You can use an online generator like to create these passwords if you're having trouble coming up with them on your own (or choose a strong master password to store them). Use a password management system to store your passwords and keep them updated. Password managers like LastPass, Dashlane, Enpass, KeePass, and KeepassX all allow you to generate secure passwords that can be recalled easily. You can also find these online or on your mobile device for when you need it.

There are many more steps you can take by following best practices in data privacy. Here are other ways to follow good practices so that your personal data stays protected:

Make sure the company where your information is stored is doing what it says it's doing regarding data security and privacy. For example, if they use SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) on their website then they can be trusted with all of your information. However, if they use an unencrypted connection then information could be intercepted and used against you. For example, Google captures and stores information on everything you type into its search engine. Be sure to read the privacy policy before giving out any data to a company. When searching for services or products on the web, be very wary of advertisements that are not linked to a trusted website. Use privacy and security software for your computer (such as the firefox security add-on that is installed automatically with updates). Many sites also allow you to install their security software on your computer so you do not have to worry about downloading new programs whenever they want you to update them (and it's always safe!). Make sure you understand how the site or app you are using is using your data and for what purpose. For instance, Facebook allows third-party apps to store information from your profile which can then be used by them to target you with ads. So make sure you are aware of what the app is doing and how it uses your data. Users should also know when their data is being collected and for what purpose it is being used.

Knowledge is power so go out there, learn safely, build a sustainable habit that gives you privacy and security, and develop an attitude of confidence in your own personal data!

A PDF of this article can be found at

About the photographer

Rudy was born in Southern California and has also lived in New York and North Carolina. He is currently working on a Bachelor's degree in Digital Media with an emphasis on Photography at The University of North Carolina Wilmington. He hopes to continue photography as a career after he finishes school. Rudy is also currently being trained as a martial artist through the Jiu-jitsu program at Coastal Martial Arts & MMA. Check out his blog for more information about him, his work, and hobbies: http://rudytraƱ

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Conclusion: How Are You Using the Internet Safely?

By W. Curtis Preston, April 29, 2015, in Security and Privacy • @wcurtis

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. I have no association with either of these products or companies.

The Internet has become one of the most critical means for communication and the dissemination of information in the modern world. It's also a potential vector for threats to our security and privacy, particularly since it is so widely used today. Everyone knows that using the Internet can bring great benefits but it can also cause us harm if we are not careful about how we use it.

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