As news about data breaches and privacy settlements continue to make headlines, it is very important to be aware of ways to protect sensitive information. Data Privacy Day, which is recognized annually on January 28, aims to raise awareness of and promote privacy and data protection best practices.
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DTCC’s Privacy Office shares eight tips for protecting your confidential and personal data when using computer devices:
1. Encrypt Your Data
Always use encryption when storing or sending data. Encryption increases data integrity and reduces the likelihood of unauthorized access.
2. Use a Strong Password
The stronger your password, the more protected your device will be from hackers and malicious software.
3. Keep Your Computer Locked
Never leave your computer unattended, as unauthorized users may access open confidential files and sensitive data. PC Tip: You can press the Windows logo key + L from your keyboard to lock your computer.
4. Observe Virtual Meeting Habits
Be mindful of your audio and use of virtual background features. Using a headset prevents unauthorized persons from overhearing sensitive topics, while virtual backgrounds are ideal for both hiding your location and preventing anything in the background from being seen.
5. Configure Your Privacy Settings
Review your internet browser and phone application settings for “cookies” and location tracking. Cookies are commonly used for legitimate marketing and advertising purposes. Cookies contain a history of the user's actions on multiple sites / apps, which may be exploited or misused to track the user's behavior.
6. Think Before You Click
Don’t click suspicious links in emails. Suspicious links can be used to download malicious software that can lead to data theft, account compromise, and financial loss.
7. Protect Personally Identifiable Information (PII) Data
Do not leave sensitive PII unattended or send unencrypted. You also should not post sensitive PII to the internet (including social networking sites), shared drives, work intranet, or multi-access calendars that can be accessed by individuals who do not have a “need to know.”
8. Secure Your E-Mails
Double check your email contents and recipients before sending. Performing email reviews before sending reduces the probability of inadvertently sending confidential data which could lead to data breach.