Canadian Security Magazine

Data Privacy Day tips

By Canadian Security   

News Data Security sophos wifi

Data Privacy Day occurs every year on the 28th of January and is intended to remind us to more carefully consider our privacy choices throughout the year. Computer users are encouraged to think about privacy choices the next time a new online profile is created, or load an app on a phone, or sign up for a frequent shopper card at your favorite retail establishment.

“And with the big data movement hellbent on collecting as much information about us whenever possible, apparently innocuous or unimportant details can be pieced together in new and surprising ways,” said Chester Wisniewski, senior security advisory at Sophos.

Following are three simple privacy diet tips from Sophos to help trim the fat and protect user’s privacy:
1. Turn off geolocation, and leave it off.
Whether you’re a Twitter user, a soldier in a war zone or a fugitive from the law geolocation can carry serious unintended consequences even when it’s used on purpose. Users have to be careful to avoid being tripped up by a steady supply of less-than-honest app writers. Geolocation data has been silently hoovered up and sent home by phone software as diverse as flashlights and mobile apps for kids.
2. Turn off Wi-Fi. Turn it on when you need it.
To trim the next few privacy pounds dieters need to turn off Wi-Fi on their smartphones, tablets and laptops. You can still use Wi-Fi but you have to switch it on when you need it and turn it off again when you don’t.
As it searches for networks to join, your phone will offer up the names of Wi-Fi networks you’ve used previously. Many Wi-Fi networks are named after the places where they’re located, so that your phone’s electronic greeting can read like a history of where you’ve been. Alongside the networks it’s joined your phone will also broadcast its MAC address almost constantly. Commercial organizations have begun to show serious interest in that little unique ID because it can be used just like a cookie to track and profile your movement in the real world.
3. Log out when you have finished
Dieters on the Privacy Plan should log out of any system they’ve finished with. Stopped using your laptop? Log out. Checked your bank balance? Log out. Done updating your Facebook status? Log out. Everything you’ve used but haven’t logged out of is an open back door that leaves your privacy at the mercy of Clickjacking attempts, Cross-Site Referral Forgery attacks, social media tracking beacons and people just sitting at your keyboard when you’re not there.
For more details see these two additional blog posts on this topic:
Report from the future
Privacy is not dead – you’re just doing it wrong

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