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Thursday, January 28 2016

Protect Your Privacy Today

Adapted from a Better Business Bureau (BBB) of Central New England, Inc. press release:

January 28th marks National Data Privacy Day, annually observed to encourage everyone to protect their personal information.  The Better Business Bureau of Central New England encourages consumers to review personal and financial information they share on the internet, and store on mobile devices, and take steps to protect their privacy.  How much information are you sharing on social media? Do you know what information mobile device apps can access?  Is the information you make available enough to allow someone to gain access to your accounts or steal your identity?

Americans are increasingly becoming more aware of privacy implications online and many Internet users have taken steps to remove or mask their digital footprints, from clearing cookies to encrypting email.  "Taking steps to protect our personal information is crucial for anyone, especially those that put personal information on mobile devices or the Internet," said Nancy B. Cahalen, President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Central New England. "Data Privacy Day is a good time to annually review the steps we are taking to protect our information from cyber criminals."

To help secure your online information, BBB & the Department of Homeland Security offer the following tips:

*Secure devices---Keep your devices from prying eyes. Set passcodes or pass phrases (long passwords) to be sure only you can access your smartphone, tablet, or PC.
*Secure accounts---Passwords are no longer the only protection from would-be hackers. When possible, enable 2-factor authentication to add another layer of security.  Some sites, such as Google, allow you to opt-in to 2-factor authentication, which means you need both your password and a passcode, sent via text or email, to log into an account.
*Make passwords long, strong, & unique---Passwords should be different for each of your accounts, have as many characters as allowed, and include numbers, symbols, capital letters, & lowercase letters.
*Think before you app---Before downloading a mobile app, understand what information (such as your location, access to social networks, etc.) the app will access.
*Back it up---Store digital copies of your valuable work, music, photos, and other information on an external hard drive or trusted online service.

For more tips on how to stay safe online, visit dhs.gov/stopthinkconnect.

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For more consumer tips and information visit bbb.org or call 1-866-566-9222 and, for the latest, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

About Better Business Bureau (BBB) of Central New England
The mission of BBB is to promote and foster the highest ethical relationship between businesses and consumers, through voluntary self-regulation, business and consumer education, and service excellence. For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been connecting consumers to trusted businesses, brands, and charities they can trust. People turn to BBB more than 165 million times last year for BBB Business Reviews on over 4.7 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. BBB of Central New England, Inc. was founded in 1940 and serves 225 communities in Worcester, Hampshire, Hampden, Franklin, and Berkshire counties, as well as parts of Middlesex County, and 7 towns in Connecticut. BBB of Central New England is one of 113 local, independent, BBBs in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

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