By: Linda Perkins
January 28 is Data Privacy Day, a designated day to remind consumers, businesses and government agencies worldwide of the importance of personal data security and the need to protect it. It is true that, in many respects, we live in a world that can be accurately described as “data insecure.” It is also true, however, that if we remind ourselves often enough that personal data security and privacy is a critical concern for everyone, then perhaps we will improve our chances of becoming a more “data secure” world for individual consumers and businesses alike.
So you may ask, “What is the one thing I can do today to make my personal data more secure?” Change your online account user passwords immediately.
On January 17, 2019, a Yahoo News headline reported: “773 Million Consumer Accounts Had Email and Passwords Exposed.” Given a world population of over 7 billion people, you may feel pretty good about your odds for not being one of the unfortunate 700 million people with exposed online accounts and login credentials. But will you feel just as secure next month or in six months? Why take the risk?
As reported by Yahoo, over 772 million unique email addresses and over 21 million unique passwords were compromised by publishing them on a hacking website, making millions of social media and financial accounts vulnerable to cybercriminals. Experts on data security are now urging all consumers to change their passwords on online accounts immediately.
If you do not have time to change all of your passwords at one time, start with the most critical personal accounts, such as email, bank, social media, shopping and credit card accounts. Use passwords that meet recommendations for creating strong passwords and do not use the same or a similar password for more than one account.
A password manager account can help generate and securely store strong passwords. Some are free with an upgrade to premium service at an additional monthly cost. PCMag.com has recently reviewed and rated the Best Password Managers for 2019.
What is the second thing you can do today to make personal data more secure? Share this post with your employees, colleagues, friends and family.
Spread the word. #DataPrivacyDay.