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Data Privacy

Three important steps you can take on Data Privacy Day

Data Privacy

Three important steps you can take on Data Privacy Day

Of all the fun and novelty days on the calendar, Data Privacy Day may not be one to set the pulse racing, but with cybercrime growing by the year and a recent report making some damning conclusions about the general public’s online security practices, it might well be one of the most important.

Marked every year on January 28, the day was set up by the Council of Europe in 2007 to help businesses protect their data, and has since been embraced by North America. It still has a business focus today, but has evolved to address families and consumers. Starting at 6:00pm this evening UK time, you can watch a series of live presentations and discussions on the topic via the Stay Safe Online website.

We can all take small steps to be more responsible with our data online, and what better day than this to do it? Here are three things you can do to bolster your security levels on the web:

1. Change your social media privacy settings

Despite much publicised controversies such as the Cambridge Analytica scandal, many social media users remain ignorant as to how much they’re giving away about themselves on sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and how easy they’re making it for people to dig up all kinds of information about them.

Also, consider what you’re posting on them in the first place. For example, is it wise to publicly announce that you and your family have gone on holiday for two weeks, meaning your house is empty?

On the Stay Safe Online website, you can find a guide to privacy settings on social media sites, search engines, browsers, email providers and more. This includes where to find them and what options you have when it comes to strengthening your privacy levels.

2. Review your passwords

Some experts advise changing your passwords every couple of months, although this can lead to confusion and passwords being forgotten. However, if you’re using any of these rubbish passwords, now is certainly the time to change them.

Contrary to popular belief, the most secure passwords are not necessarily ones that contain upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters. For example, ‘Pa55word!’ fits that bill, but it’s one of the first ones a password cracking tool would try. Much more effective can be a long password, perhaps made up of three ordinary words.

The website HowSecureIsMyPassword.net tells you roughly how long it would take a computer to crack your password. We can see from it that ‘Pa55word!’ would take about four weeks, while ‘pencil donkey window’ would take two quattuordecillion years. Yet, many websites would allow the former and not the latter, telling you it’s “not strong enough”.

3. Consider your GDPR compliance

This has more to do with being responsible with others’ data rather than your own, but the good practices that come with being a GDPR compliant business can actually make it a worthwhile pursuit rather than an inconvenience.

With GDPR fines expected to increase this year , it’s imperative that your website is compliant. If you’re worried it isn’t, speak to the Engage Web team and find out what we can do to keep you on the right side of the legislation.

John Murray

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