dataprivacy 012818Create better passwords:
Changing and creating innovative passwords can go a long way toward protecting your information. Using a password that is easy to guess does not protect your sensitive data in our tech-savvy world.
Even though it is difficult to remember different passwords for each of your accounts, experts all agree that users should not use the same or similar passwords in all instances. If someone does discover your password for one account, all of your other accounts will then be vulnerable.

It is beneficial to include numbers, symbols and both uppercase and lowercase letters (depending on password rules set up by the program, app or website). The best passwords avoid using words that can be found in the dictionary.

Experts also are divided on whether you should change your passwords frequently, but if there’s any chance one of yours has been stolen in a breach, it is important to change it right away.

Don't use Social Security numbers, phone numbers, addresses, or other personally identifiable information as passwords.

Using numbers or combinations associated with other personally identifiable information as all or even part of your passwords is a huge security risk.

Don't use any part of your social security number (or any other sensitive info, like a credit card number) as a password, user ID or personal identification number (PIN).

If a hacker gains access to this information, it will be among the first things they use to try to get into your account.

Turn on 2FA. While users work to get their passwords in shape, please enable multifactor authentication, or two-factor authentication (2FA), wherever available.

This requires users to enter a second form of identification—such as a code texted to your phone—before allowing access to the account.

These days it’s available on everything from banking websites to Gmail, and it goes a long way toward keeping the predators out of personal data if a password is ever stolen.

Guard your info:

Lock down social media accounts to make sure that posts are restricted to people you actually know.

Facebook has a privacy checkup tool to help with this. Do not share personal information on social media, and be sure to talk to children about proper social media behavior.

Be aware of gadgets that collect information quietly in the background. Every time someone says “Alexa” or “Hey, Google,” remember that a recording is being made. Remember that apps and websites are collecting your information, too. Keep your privacy settings for both at levels you’re comfortable with.

And if you’re no longer using an app, delete it.

Protect and educate your kids:

Users are not required to give internet-connected toys a child’s name or birthday.  Think twice before posting or sharing something about children on social media.

Educate kids about smart and safe behavior online. Nothing disappears once posted on the internet. Explain consequences of inappropriate pictures posted to the internet and shared electronically.

Maintain access to your child’s accounts, passwords and email, and chat or messaging services.

Control the amount of time your child is online. Children are most vulnerable during evening hours when potential offenders expect them to be online and possibly unsupervised.

Run your updates:

This isn’t just important for laptops and smartphones but also for your router and the “internet of things” connected to it.

Known security flaws that aren’t fixed give hackers easy access to networks. 

Beware of Fraud

There are scammers who attempt to trick unsuspecting residents into giving out their sensitive personal information by pretending to be a bank, credit card company or another entity.

This can happen by phone or online, via phishing emails, or through websites designed to mimic the authentic company's look and feel.

For more information on how you can better protect yourself from online scams visit the Illinois Attorney General’s website here: (

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