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Media > Newsletters > Consumer Advocate > February 2023 > Tips can help protect your online privacy

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Tips can help protect your online privacy


The Ohio Attorney General’s Office recognized Data Privacy Week last month (January 22-28, 2023). In an effort to help Ohioans protect their personal information, the office is reprinting below a version of an article published by the National Cybersecurity Alliance.
In today’s online world, it is more important than ever to protect your personal information from those who would use it to commit identity theft.
That is precisely why the Ohio Attorney General’s Office joined organizations across the nation last month to commemorate Data Privacy Week (Jan. 22-28). This year’s theme was “Data: The Story of You.”
No matter how careful you are, some data is likely generated from your online activities. Businesses and organizations collect data on many of your purchases, interests and behaviors through various apps and websites. So it’s vital to properly manage your data privacy to keep your personal information out of the wrong hands.
The National Cybersecurity Alliance provides three broad tips to help protect your privacy:

1. Know the trade-off between privacy and convenience. When you download an app, you’re often asked to approve permissions for the app to access information such as contacts, photos, camera, geographic location and more.
Before you agree to grant an app any permissions to access your data, make an informed decision about whether the service being offered by the app is worth the data you are about to share. The National Cybersecurity Alliance suggests you ask the following questions:
  • Is the service, app or game worth the amount or type of personal data wanted in return?
  • Can I control my data privacy and still use the service?
  • Is the data requested even relevant for the app or service? (Why does a Solitaire game need to know all my contacts?)
  • If I haven’t used an app, service or account in several months, is it worth keeping knowing it might be collecting and sharing my data?
2. Adjust settings to your comfort level. It is important to review the security and privacy settings of each of your apps (typically found in Settings or similarly labeled section). Adjust settings to a level you are comfortable with for sharing. If you’re not sure, it is best to choose to share less data rather than more. 

While it may seem overwhelming to adjust the settings of all your apps, you don’t need to do them all in one sitting. You may also visit the Managing Your Privacy Settings page directly from the National Cybersecurity Alliance for links and guidance from dozens of commonly used apps.
3. Protect your data. As stated by the National Cybersecurity Alliance, “data privacy and data security go hand-in-hand.” The organization recommends these “Core 4” cybersecurity tips: 
  • Create long (at least 12 characters), unique passwords for each account and device. Use a password manager to store each password – maintaining dozens of passwords securely is now easier than ever.
  • Turn on multifactor authentication (MFA) wherever it is permitted. This keeps your data safe even if your password is compromised. MFA generally requires something you know (for example, a password) and something you have (a cellphone to receive a special code or an email address).
  • Turn on automatic device, software and browser updates, or make sure you install updates as soon as they are available.
  • Learn how to identify phishing messages, which can be sent as emails, texts or direct messages.
For more information about the National Cybersecurity Alliance, visit its website at For cybersecurity tips from the Ohio Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Section, click here.