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Your personal data is valuable. Protect it

30 Jan 2019 - 07:45

Every time we use our mobile device, or do something online, we could be unknowingly sharing data about ourselves. Millions of people use their mobile devices daily to perform tasks, or go online to work, socialise and do research. However, many don’t realise that in some instances their actions, or devices, including household items that are connected to the internet, are being recorded. This then leads to their data being stored and accessed by third parties.

It is for this reason that days like Data Privacy Day provide the ideal opportunity to highlight the importance of being cautious about what information you share about yourself and others. It is also a reminder of the risks that are out there.

Organised by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), this awareness raising initiative aims to bring together businesses and the public to share the best strategies for protecting consumers’ private information.

This year’s theme is Respecting Privacy, Safeguarding Data and Enabling Trust, which is befitting due to the high number of data breaches last year, including the one affecting millions of South Africa.

While this day serves as a reminder to be cautious, it also calls on entities that collect and store data as part of their business, to be transparent and inform consumers where the data is stored and how it is being used.

Be alert and follow these useful tips:

  • Personal information, such as purchase or location, is valuable to businesses. Always consider who gets that information and how it’s collected through apps and websites. We also recommend that you delete unused apps, update those that you still use and review these apps’ permissions.
  • Think before you post about yourself and others. Similarly, post about others as you would have them post about you.
  • Ensure your security settings for apps and websites that you use, are what you want it to be, and are willing to share.
  • Keep your desktop computer and laptop clean and secure, by keeping software, operating systems and apps up to date.
  • Ensure your devices are protected using a strong password or authentication process such as finger swiping, or facial recognition.