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Online Privacy


The following tip sheet and resources are invaluable tools for reducing cybersecurity risks and protecting yourself online. Additional Resources: National Cybersecurity Alliance and CISA.gov

The Internet touches almost all aspects of our daily lives. We are able to shop, bank, connect with family and friends, and handle our medical records all online. These activities require you to provide personally identifiable information (PII) such as your name, date of birth, account numbers, passwords, and location information. #BeCyberSmart when sharing personal information online to reduce the risk of becoming a victim of a cybercrime.

Did You Know?

  • 45% of Americans have had their personal information compromised by a data breach in the last five years.1
  • 70% of Americans feel that their personal information is less secure than it was five years ago2 , up from 49% just two years ago.3
  • 72% of Americans believe that most of what they’re doing while online is being tracked by advertisers, technology firms and other companies.2
  • Over half of Americans (52%) say they have decided not to use a product or service because they were worried about how much personal information was being collected about them.2

Simple Tips

  • Shake up your password protocol. Use the longest password or passphrase permissible. Get creative and customize your standard password for different sites, which can prevent cyber criminals from gaining access to these accounts and protect you in the event of a breach. Use password managers to generate and remember different, complex passwords for each of your accounts. Read the Creating a Password Tip Sheet for more information.
  • Never click and tell. Limit what information you post on social media. Many people don’t realize that these seemingly random details are all that criminals need to know to target you, your loved ones, and your physical belongings—online and in the real world. Keep Social Security numbers, account numbers, and passwords private, as well as specific information about yourself, such as your full name, address, birthday, and even vacation plans. Disable location services that allow anyone to see where you are— and where you aren’t —at any given time.
  • Stay protected while connected. Before you connect to any public wireless hotspot—such as at an airport, hotel, or café—be sure to confirm the name of the network and exact login procedures with appropriate staff to ensure that the network is legitimate. If you do use an unsecured public access point, practice good Internet hygiene by avoiding sensitive activities (e.g., banking) that require passwords or credit cards. Your personal hotspot is often a safer alternative to free Wi-Fi. Only use sites that begin with “https://” when online shopping or banking.

1 “RSA Data Privacy & Security Survey 2019: The Growing Data Disconnect Between Consumers and Businesses. RSA. February 6, 2019. https://www.rsa.com/content/dam/en/misc/rsa-data-privacy-and-security-survey-2019.pdf

2 Auxier, Brooke, “How Americans see digital privacy issues amid the COVID-19 outbreak.” Pew Research Center: Fact Tank. May 4, 2020. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2020/05/04/how-americans-see-digital-privacy-issues-amid-the-covid-19-outbreak/

3 Smith, Aaron. “Americans and Cybersecurity.” Pew Research Center: Internet, Science & Tech. April 27, 2017. https://www.pewinternet.org/2017/01/26/americans-and-cybersecurity/. Ibid. Ibid.

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