We live in an increasingly digital world and most of us give little thought to data privacy until after our personal data has been compromised. Our increased dependence on digital technologies to manage every aspect of life requires us to rethink what we share about ourselves, when and where we share it, and who we are sharing it with. Incorporate these tips when using digital devices to help protect your personal information:

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  1. Understand the privacy/convenience tradeoff. Make informed decisions about whether or not to share your data with certain businesses by considering the amount of personal information they are asking for, and weighing it against the benefits you may receive in return. Be thoughtful about who gets that information and wary of apps or services that require access to information that is not required or necessary for the services they are offering.
  2. Manage your privacy and protect your data. Data privacy and data security go hand in hand. Once you have decided to use an app or set up a new account, check the privacy and security settings and set them to your comfort level for information sharing. Each device, application or browser you use will have different features to limit how and who your information is shared with. Keep your data secure by creating long, unique passwords and storing them in a password manager if necessary. Add another layer of security by enabling multi-factor authentication (MFA) wherever possible, especially on accounts with sensitive information.
  3. Keep apps updated and delete apps you don’t need. Apps with out-of-date software may be at risk of being hacked. Protect your device from malware by installing app updates as soon as they’re released. To avoid unnecessary data collection, if you’re not using an app, delete it. If you have created an account to use the app, consider deleting it as well to further secure the data associated with it.

Now is the perfect time to evaluate your personal cybersecurity. Taking these steps to safeguard your personal information will protect you and your family. For additional information from the Federal Trade Commission on how to help you stay safe and secure online, visit here.