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Home > Press Releases > Five Steps Businesses and Consumers Can Take to Reduce Exposure

As Data Privacy Day approaches, EZShield has top tips to secure your online privacy.

BALTIMORE, Md. (January 19, 2018)— As a 2018 Data Privacy Day Champion, leading identity protection company EZShield, is working with other partners in North America toward the common goal of raising awareness at home, at work and at school on how to protect personal information. With Data Privacy Day coming up on January 28, EZShield Vice President of Marketing and Solution Strategy Laura Bruck offers five steps individuals and business owners can take to safeguard their data.

Protect Your Passwords
It sounds obvious, but with 1,579* data breaches and exposed information of millions of people found on the Dark Web this year, it’s imperative your passwords act as an effective layer of protection for your online accounts. Avoid reusing passwords across multiple accounts, and be sure your passwords incorporate upper- and lowercase letters, special characters and numbers. Don’t share your passwords with others, and change them regularly. Consider utilizing a password manager to keep your passwords safe and avoid having to memorize them for each account.
*Reported by ITRC as of January 23, 2018.

Beware the IoT
The Internet of Things, or IoT devices, can seem like a technical term. But it simply refers to any device that is connected to the Internet – from your Fitbit to your wireless printer. Unlike smartphones, laptops and other mobile devices, security is often lacking on IoT devices – making them an easy target for hackers. Apply any security updates that you can, and consider using a separate Wi-Fi network dedicated to your IoT devices to keep your personal and/or business data unaffected in the event a hacker gets in.

Don’t Go Phish
Whether you’re at home or in the office, always verify messages you receive and who is sending them. Look for common phishing red flags like shortened links, prompts to download attachments, unfamiliar senders or messaging that seems unusually urgent. In the office, be sure to verify any wire transfer or W-2 request before sending. Business email compromise scams continue to target businesses of all sizes, and can come from legitimate email accounts, making them even harder to spot.

Be Safely Social
Your social media profiles and activity tell others more about you than you may think. Fraudsters can piece together personally identifiable information (PII) such as your name, birth date, location, age and gender with other less-obvious identifying information such as geotags, location check-ins, school names, community organizations and more. This information can be used to assume your identity, or target you in scams to capture more sensitive data including your Social Security number and financial information. Be careful what you post on social media, and be sure that you are actively updating your profile’s security settings.

Don’t Mix Business and Pleasure
Small business owners commonly link personal information to their business. In fact, one-fifth of small businesses utilize consumer accounts for their small business banking. While the convenience of commingling personal and business information may be tempting, using the two together can make it easier for identity thieves to steal more information in one fell swoop. Ideally, it’s best to keep personal information separate from your business. If you must commingle your personal identity with your business’ sensitive data, be sure that you are securing both your personal and business information equally. 

By following these five tips, you are helping to build a more secure and trusted Internet. For more tips on how to protect yourself, your family and your business, visit www.fightingidentitycrimes.com.

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About EZShield:
EZShield, owned by the Wicks Group of Companies, L.L.C., offers its value-add identity protection services to consumers and small businesses through trusted partnerships. The company’s award-winning solutions are delivered on a secure, flexible platform backed by best-in-class customer support. For more information about partnership opportunities, please visit www.EZShield.com.

About Data Privacy Day:

Data Privacy Day began in the United States and Canada in January 2008 as an extension of the Data Protection Day celebration in Europe. Data Protection Day commemorates the Jan. 28, 1981, signing of Convention 108, the first legally binding international treaty dealing with privacy and data protection. The National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), the nation’s leading nonprofit, public-private partnership promoting cybersecurity and privacy education and awareness, leads the effort in North America. The Data Privacy Day initiative is made possible by generous support from our sponsors and is advised by a distinguished advisory committee of privacy professionals. For more information, visit www.staysafeonline.org/data-privacy-day/about.