Center for Internet Security Recognizes Data Privacy Day on January 28

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Center offers tips for protecting security and privacy online

In support of Data Privacy Day, the Center for Internet Security (CIS), a national not-for-profit focused on enhancing the cyber security readiness and response of public and private sector entities, today issued tips to help users protect themselves and their information online. Data Privacy Day, coordinated and led by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), is an annual international awareness initiative focused on educating people about the importance of protecting personal information and promoting education about good privacy practices.

A Facebook Live launch of Data Privacy Day will be held Thursday, January 26, 9:00-11:45am ET. The event will feature U.S. Federal Trade Commissioner Julie Brill along with several well-known industry privacy leaders discussing the intersection of privacy and security.

In 2011, more than 26 million records containing sensitive personal information were involved in a data breach as a result of hacking, malware, or lost, stolen or improperly discarded equipment, according to the national Privacy Rights Clearinghouse. The Ponemon Institute reports that the average cost of a data breach for an organization is $7.2 million. Javelin Strategy & Research estimates the average out-of-pocket cost for an individual who is a victim of identity theft is $631.

“The volume of information collected, maintained and transferred online is tremendous. It’s important for each of us to think through our online interactions, whether at home, school or work. When it comes to sharing personal information online, less is better. The less you share, the more you can protect your privacy and minimize the chances of becoming a victim,” said William Pelgrin, CIS President and CEO. “In addition to limiting the amount of personal data you share, there are many other steps you can take to help protect your information and privacy. We’re pleased to collaborate with the National Cyber Security Alliance in putting a spotlight on the importance of privacy protections.”

“The success of Data Privacy Day depends on the efforts of many individuals and organizations interested in the ways personal information is collected, stored, used and shared,” said NCSA Executive Director Michael Kaiser. “We’re pleased to collaborate with the Center for Internet Security in helping to raise awareness and educate users.”

The Center for Internet Security offers the following tips for users to help secure their transactions and protect the privacy of their information:

  •     Secure your computer. Be sure to have a firewall installed and enabled on your computer. Use anti-spyware/anti-adware protection software. This software is designed to protect you against spyware or malware, which can extract private information from your computer without your knowledge. Make sure you keep these programs updated.
  •     Check your browser settings. Periodically check your Internet browser settings (e.g. Security and Privacy) to ensure that the settings are adequate for your level and type of Internet activity.
  •     Use encryption. Use encryption software if you store private data on your laptop or other portable electronic devices. This will help protect your private data in the event the device is lost or stolen.
  •     Review privacy policies. Be sure to read the privacy statement on websites you are visiting prior to providing any personal information, to understand that entity's policy regarding protection of data.
  •     Understand if and how location data is used. Check if GPS location data is being stored when you upload pictures to your social media site from your mobile device and disable it if you don’t want the world to know exactly where the picture was taken.
  •     Secure your online transaction. Guard the security of your transactions when shopping online by ensuring the transaction is submitted securely. When submitting your purchase information, look for the "lock" icon on the browser's status bar to be sure your information is secure during transmission. Also be sure “https” appears in the website’s address bar before making an online purchase. The "s" stands for "secure” and indicates that communication with the webpage is encrypted.
  •     Use strong passwords on all your accounts. Use a minimum of eight characters and a mix of special symbols, letters and numbers. Use separate passwords for each account.
  •     Trust but verify. Always question someone who is asking you to reveal any personally identifiable information. Find out how it will be used and whether it will be shared with others.

For more resources about online security, visit the Center for Internet Security.

About the Center for Internet Security
The Center for Internet Security (CIS) is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to enhance the cyber security readiness and response of public and private sector entities, with a commitment to excellence through collaboration.

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Krista Montie
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