This post is part of our 2023 Data Privacy Day Series.
Adam Marrè, CISO, Arctic Wolf
"Data Privacy Day has become more important than ever in a world where the line between offline and online lives continues to blur. Turmoil in the online world – whether it’s the dismantling of Twitter or the ongoing efforts to ban TikTok on U.S. government systems – has also shown that these tactics for possible mass manipulation can cause significant harm to us, our family, and our society, and we must use it as motivation to take action to protect ourselves. If there is one thing for people to take away today, it’s that data privacy and protection is not someone else’s problem – and we can have a direct, positive impact through our own individual choices.
It’s critical for consumers to stay vigilant as online platforms and social media apps, especially those that are free, still do come with a cost. Algorithms designed to direct users to apps, and keep them there longer, often work in manipulative ways that do not align with users’ best interests, collecting detailed and sensitive data that can be used to target people via phishing emails, propaganda, and/or controlling/accessing devices. Here are a few steps you can take to protect your data:
Practice good cyber hygiene: use strong passwords, use a password manager, enable two-factor authentication, download security updates for apps and devices, and regularly check your accounts for suspicious logins or unrecognized devices.
Beware of phishing, fraud, and other scams online. Not all attacks come through sophisticated techniques or malware. Stay alert and vigilant for phishing attempts through email, text message, phone calls, and direct messaging in apps.
Know what information your apps and devices are collecting and where they are sending it. Examine terms and conditions, read reviews of the apps' privacy, or use the privacy features on your device. If the app is collecting information that you don’t want it to, be disciplined: delete the app and use the browser version instead. Or avoid the app entirely.
Demand legislative action. We can use these current heightened data privacy concerns to motivate us to take collective action that will have a much more lasting and holistic effect than merely banning one specific app. Bills like the ADPPA have been proposed; contact your state legislators and demand they hold these data collectors accountable or prevent them from collecting data they don’t need."