In today’s environment, it is increasingly difficult to keep one’s personal data private and protected. Research has found that 82% of web traffic contains third-party scripts, which can be used to track your internet activity. Everything from your address, Social Security number, and credit card number can be leaked, making data privacy extremely important in today’s world.

TDS customers will want to make use of the TDS Internet Security Suite to assist with all their data privacy protection needs. Antivirus technology, Privacy VPNs, ID Monitoring, Browser Protection, and a Password Vault are all included and available to download in the suite for only $4.95 a month. If you aren’t sure, try it for free for 30 days by clicking here!

With Data Privacy Day coming up Jan. 28, here are some other tips and tricks to help keep your internet data private and secure.

  1. Protect Your Online Accounts with Strong Passwords

The first and often easiest step one can take to protect your data is to guard your online accounts with strong passwords. Here are some general guidelines when creating a password:

  • Choose a password that is at least 12 characters long.
  • Include numbers, symbols, and capital and lower-case letters.
  • Vary your passwords between accounts.

Oftentimes, people are reluctant to use multiple complex passwords because they are afraid to forget them. An easy solution is using a password manager service, like TDS’ Password Vault. Two-factor authentication can also ensure the safety of your online accounts, protecting your private information.

  1. Limit your Online Footprint

Everyone leaves digital breadcrumbs whenever they use the internet and visit different websites. These breadcrumbs leave behind valuable information that can be tracked and archived by companies and websites. The more you use the internet, the more information you give up.

There are ways, however, to diminish the amount of information you give to these companies. Here are some tips for limiting your online footprint so you can ensure that your personal information remains safe and your data private.

  • Delete old email addresses.
  • Use stealth or incognito modes when you browse.
  • Turn off location data collection on your social media profiles.
  • Use a VPN. The TDS Internet Security Suite comes with an encrypted VPN.
  • Disable cookies.
  1. Review Privacy Policies

It may seem tedious, but reviewing privacy policies can be important. According to research, 82% of Americans are asked to sign a privacy policy at least once a month, but only 22% actually read the policy. Additionally, 63% of Americans said they understand “very little or nothing at all about the laws and regulations that are currently in place to protect their data privacy.”

Reading privacy policies before agreeing to them will help you understand more about your online privacy rights and allows you to evaluate the risk you take by using specific websites. If you feel uneasy about the way a company or website is trying to use your data, refuse to sign the privacy policy. You won’t be alone; over half of Americans have refused to use a product or website due to concerns over their data privacy.

  1. Beware of Phishing

Phishing is when scammers use texts or emails to trick people into giving them their personal information, passwords, or data. Being able to recognize phishing scams is important and requires discipline and a skeptical approach to communications you don’t recognize.

Generally, the goal of phishing attacks is to get one to click a link or enter information. Never open a link, open an attachment, or give your personal information to an email address or phone number you don’t recognize. Other common tricks include using email addresses that look similar to reputable organizations, sending you fake invoices, or offering free things, among others.

Thousands of phishing attacks are launched each day by scammers, so stay vigilant, because there is a good chance you will find one in your inbox or text messages soon.

Written by Will Chamblee, TDS Communications Intern

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