Tips for Staying Safe and Private Online: Consumers


Most households now run networks of devices linked to the internet, including computers, gaming systems, household assistants, home robots, TVs, tablets, smartphones and wearables. These devices make it easier to connect to the world around you, but they can also track your personal information, including your contacts, photos, videos, location and health and financial data.

As the issue of privacy become better known to the public, consumers are becoming more concerned about who will access their information and why.  Here are some consumer-friendly tips to help protect your privacy:

  • PERSONAL INFO IS LIKE MONEY: VALUE IT. PROTECT IT. Information about you, such as
    your purchase history or location, has value – just like money. Be thoughtful about who gets that
    information and how it’s collected through apps and websites. You should delete unused apps, keep
    others current and review app permissions.
  • SHARE WITH CARE. Think before posting about yourself and others online. Consider what it reveals,
    who might see it and how it could be perceived now and in the future. It’s a good idea to review your social
    network friends and all contact lists to ensure everyone still belongs.
  • OWN YOUR ONLINE PRESENCE. Set the privacy and security settings on websites and apps to your
    comfort level for information sharing. Each device, application or browser you use will have different
    features to limit how and with whom you share information. It’s OK to ask others for help.
  • LOCK DOWN YOUR LOGIN. Your usernames and passwords are not enough to protect key accounts
    like email, banking and social media. Choose one account and turn on the strongest authentication tools
    available, such as biometrics, security keys or a unique one-time code sent to your mobile device.
  • KEEP A CLEAN MACHINE. Keep all software, operating systems (mobile and PC) and apps up to date to
    protect data loss from infections and malware.
  • APPLY THE GOLDEN RULE ONLINE. Post only about others as you would have them post about you.
  • SECURE YOUR DEVICES. Every device should be secured by a password or strong authentication –
    finger swipe, facial recognition etc. These security measures limit access to authorized users only
    and protect your information if devices are lost or stolen.
  • THINK BEFORE YOU APP. Information about you, such as the games you like to play, your contacts list,
    where you shop and your location, has tremendous value. Be thoughtful about who gets that information
    and understand how it’s collected through apps.