All of us exist in digital form on the Internet. When you're online you leave a trail of "digital exhaust" in the form of cookies, GPS data, social network posts, browser searches, and email exchanges, among others. Services that you don’t even use may have information about you. And once something is online, it can be there forever.
It's important to keep what’s private, private, for yourself and when you’re sharing about others. Owning your online presence will help to protect your identity, finances, and reputation – both now and in the future!
Here are steps you can take to protect your digital footprint:
1. Secure all devices, especially smartphones.
Smartphones are carried by virtually everyone and often they contain our most personal information. Whether iPhone or Android, research the best way to secure it for full privacy including options such as remote wipe.
2. Use a unique password for each site.
That way, if one of your passwords gets compromised, the others are still safe. Use complex passwords and never share them. Using multi-factor authentication (MFA) wherever possible will help protect you even more. Keep your university and personal presences separate. Use different accounts for each.
3. Use a password manager.
Using an encrypted password manager to store your passwords makes it easy to access and use a complex, unique password for each site.
4. Know what you are sharing.
Check the privacy settings on all of your apps and social media accounts to ensure that they are set to share only what you want; with whom you want. Don’t rely on the default settings. Guard your birth date and telephone number. These are key pieces of information used for verification, and you should not share them publicly.
There are no true secrets online. Use the postcard or billboard test: Would you be comfortable with everyone reading a message or post? If not, don't share it.
Champions represent those dedicated to empowering these efforts.
UC Berkeley is proud to be a Data Privacy Champion.
Materials in this toolkit are available to the entire UC Berkeley community. Our items are intended to be quick and easy to use. Tips from this toolkit can help to keep you safe online every day of the year.
-Information Security. Made Bearable.