How to keep your private information safe in regards to cybersecurity

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BERLIN, GERMANY – DECEMBER 28: A participant sits with a laptop computer as he attends the annual Chaos Communication Congress of the Chaos Computer Club at the Berlin Congress Center on December 28, 2010 in Berlin, Germany. The Chaos Computer Club is Europe’s biggest network of computer hackers and its annual congress draws up to […]

MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN)- It’s less than three weeks until Christmas. Maybe you’ve been doing some online shopping or made travel plans. So how exactly is your personal information used when you shop online or anytime at that matter?

“I say we should assume that at some point our credit card information or personal information is going to be stolen,” said Dr. Jim Marquardson, NMU’S Assistant Professor of Information Assurance & Cyber Defense.

It’s a tough thing to hear, but when it comes to privacy online, you shouldn’t expect much.

“Right now once your data is on the internet most companies can share this with anybody they want to. They can sell your data, they can try to monetize it, they can sell it to advertisers, they can use them in political campaigns. There are very few limitations on what they can do with your data.”

Dr. Marquardson said a lot of the apps and services we use online are free so the way they make money is by collecting your information and selling it.

“Everything you type into a search bar is being tracked, and it’s being used to build a part of your profile and that information will be used in advertisements. So you’ll see it pop up on a lot of different sites as these ad networks track you from site to site and try to put together a complete picture of what you like to do, what kind of products you lke to shop for.”

So what can you do to stay on top of your cyber safety, Dr. Marquardson says a lot of same advice still applies today.

1.) Don’t open attachments from suspicious emails. That’s the most common way security is breached.
2.) Do your research for credibility when it comes to using uncommon or unheard of sites.
3.) Run a yearly credit report.
4.) Use unique passwords.
5.) Make sure the websites you use are encrypted/protected by the lock icon in the URL bar.

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