It’s Privacy Awareness Week 2017!
Celebrated in May by members of the Asia Pacific Privacy Authorities (APPA), Privacy Awareness Week encourages people to be more mindful of their privacy and personal information. The United States and Hong Kong began their festivities this week, while Australia will join in the fun next Monday.
This year’s theme is “Care when you share”. Organizers want people to think more critically before they share personal information online. Carelessly sharing personal information can be dangerous, putting you at risk of identity theft, social engineering, or phishing.
Looking for ideas for how to celebrate Privacy Awareness Week and “care when you share”? Read on for ExpressVPN’s top tips!
1. Understand what data your apps want to access
New apps are always coming out on the market, and some make a bigger splash than others. Before you tap “install”, make sure you’re not agreeing to share boatloads of your personal information with the app developers.
Beyond the usual requests for phone contacts and location data (which, let’s face it, are already pretty invasive), some apps ask for access to your vital stats and fitness history. This sort of data can easily be repackaged and sold to big corporations.
Even if you are comfortable giving a particular app company access to your data, remember that they might not be the only ones accessing it. Some apps send data over HTTP instead of HTTPS, meaning your data could get snatched in transit by third parties (like a hacker or your ISP) monitoring your internet connection.
2. Be cautious with Facebook
Telling your Facebook friends about that awesome grilled cheese you just ate may give you an endorphin rush, but beware: Everything you do on the social behemoth’s website is ripe for data mining.
It’s not just posting that can get you in trouble—taking one of Facebook’s kajillion quizzes could also put your privacy up for grabs.
There are ways to be safer with Facebook. Review your privacy settings and set them so that only a narrow audience (i.e., your friends) can see what you post. Also consider encrypting your Facebook email notifications with PGP—that way, it’s harder for others to hack your account.
3. Limit the pictures you share
We live in the era of Instagram and Snapchat.
However, documenting your life with pictures makes it all too easy for others to track your whereabouts, including malicious individuals. A flurry of exotic snaps can also signal when you’re out of town, tipping off would-be robbers.
If you are going to share your photos liberally, then consider a private account.
Are you excited for Privacy Awareness Week? Have thoughts on other ways to care what you share? Tell us in the comments below!