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How many times a day do you use the internet? What do you do while you’re there? If you’re like most people, you check your social media profiles, shop and catch the latest news—but that’s certainly not all. In today’s digital age, the average American spends 24 hours online each week, according to MIT Technology Review. That’s up from a little more than nine hours a week at the turn of the century.

In today’s digital age, the average American spends 24 hours online each week, according to MIT Technology Review. That’s up from a little more than nine hours a week at the turn of the century.

Watch ITque’s recent video, Windows 10 Privacy – Part 1: Information They Collect

While much of this increase in online usage can be attributed to smartphones, the internet is the internet regardless of how and where you engage with it. And the more you live online via your electronic devices, the more information you leave behind for the so-called data brokers of the world who collect and sell your online behavior patterns to marketing companies and others.

So—do you really need to worry about your privacy online? Absolutely. Here are some ways to make sure your screen time is as secure as it can be:

Lock down your passwords.

While it might seem convenient to store passwords on your device, don’t. Instead, use a secure password manager. Also make sure you use a variety of passwords to make it more difficult for cybercriminals to figure them out. Ideal passwords have more than eight characters and include numbers and symbols. ITque recommends changing your important passwords (bank accounts, brokerage accounts, email accounts) every quarter or more frequently.

Take advantage of privacy settings.

Most apps and social media platforms have privacy settings that limit what others can glean about you from your online activities. A good rule of thumb is to deny location settings and prevent access to your camera.

Be aware of your digital footprint.

Even if you delete something, it lives online forever. This includes posts, photos and videos—all of which add up to your digital footprint. So be careful about what you post and share. It could come back to haunt you.

Make sure your devices are secure.

Information security is often as simple as installing reputable security software on your phone and other devices. Although spyware and other cyber threats still exist, good antivirus software can help minimize them. All ITque clients are protected from viruses and malware with enterprise-grade endpoint security.

Guard against phishing.

Phishing happens when a cyberthief attempts to impersonate a credible entity such as a bank to obtain your user information, or to deliver malicious malware. To avoid this, never click on links from unknown senders. If you want to verify the identity of a sender, search for its website and go from there. ITque recommends Know Be4 Security Awareness Training, a web-based security training tool, to help educate and train clients how to avoid phishing and other malicious attacks.

Backup your data.

The importance of this often-overlooked step can’t be understated. Backing up your files on a cloud-based platform or external drive can keep hackers from corrupting, stealing or holding them for ransom using ransomware. Data backup also ensures you’ll be able to access important files in case something happens to your device. ITque offers a variety of enterprise-grade Backup & Disaster Recovery (BDR) and Business Continuity (BC) solutions that can reduce downtime after a major data disaster from days/weeks to hours/minutes.

If you would like help making sure your online privacy is protected, call ITque at 408-641-7030. We have 60 years of combined IT experience serving businesses in Northern California.