Trust, consent, and transparency are the building blocks of the digital economy. We’re hardly through the first month of 2014, and we have seen two major retailers disclosure privacy breaches that combined could affect a THIRD of the population of the USA.
I myself have been notified by Target (not impressed by the outreach, but that’s for another blog post) that I was affected by the issue and have been offered the normal credit monitoring tools to proactively monitor any possible future issues that may arise.
Blah, blah, blah…we have heard this all before. These breaches won’t stop; they will become more frequent and important. Yes, these credit monitoring tools help you – after the fact – but you also need to help yourself, before the damage occurs.
With that being said, is there anything you could do to protect yourself now from attacks or future activity that could have a damaging effect on your digital fingerprint?
The National Cyber Security Alliance is a public/private nonprofit partnership whose mission is to “educate and therefore empower a digital society to use the Internet safely and securely at home, work, and school, protecting the technology individuals use, the networks they connect to, and our shared digital assets.”
It’s more than good intentions. The NCSA created StaySafeOnline.org, a collection of really smart how-tos about keeping your computer clean, protect your privacy, and other significant Internet safety issues.
Here, for a very pertinent example, is this great resource (it’s an awesome personal privacy convenience tool) that allows you to view and change the privacy and security settings for your online devices or services.
As you will see from the listings this is a great place to start for you to manage your privacy settings. The image below shows you eBay’s privacy setting. Log on, make the changes and bookmark these addresses. I also strongly suggest that you update your settings regularly.
Do it NOW. You wouldn’t want to walk down the road naked, would you? Then why would let all your digital nakedness hang out? It’s just as embarrassing and potentially even more dangerous.
There’s no longer a bright line between our personal and professional lives; increasingly they’re becoming grey and intertwined. If you are concerned about your digital nakedness, then it is imperative that you proactively manage all your digital relationships and accounts.
If you don’t…then prepare yourself. You may be that person finding yourself in receipt of an unpleasant notification from the next organization that’s robbed of batches of personally identifiable information…including yours.
Photo of “Another Place” by Antony Gormley, by Richard Carter, used under a Creative Commons 2.0 license