You Have the Power to Take Control of Your Data (for the Most Part)

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Have you thought about your online data recently? We’re talking about data that includes your interests and purchases to your online behavior, which is collected by websites, apps, devices, services and companies from all around the world. This data can also include information about your physical self, like health data. Think about your smartwatch, which tracks, stores and transmits complex data about you as the wearer, including your steps taken in a day, body composition and possibly even spotting potential medical conditions. Own a Smart TV or a Smart Appliance? Those devices understand when you are most likely to watch your favorite show or how often you cook on the weekends.

Although you’re not able to control every single piece of data out there, you can control how you share your data with a few simple steps. Your online data is like your social security number; you have to be selective about who you share it with.

Understand the tradeoff between privacy and convenience 

You’ve likely noticed that whenever you download a new app or join a new social media platform, you’re asked to share your personal information like your location or contacts. This information is incredibly valuable to businesses and if your data gets in the wrong hands, you could be at risk. Ask yourself these questions before you hand over those keys:

  1. Is this service, app or game worth the amount or type of personal data they want in return? 
  2. Does it allow you to control your data privacy while still being able to use the service?
  3. If you haven’t used an app, service, or account in several months, is it worth keeping around knowing that even in the background it might be collecting and sharing your data?

Adjust your privacy settings

If you do download a new app, sign up for an account or buy a new device, check the privacy and security settings. Set them to your comfort level for personal information sharing. provides this great resource to learn how to manage your security settings on popular devices and online services.  

Protect your data 

Data privacy and data security go hand-in-hand. Along with managing your data privacy settings, follow some simple cybersecurity tips to keep it safe:

  • Create a strong password that consists of a combination of numbers, uppercase letters, lowercase letters and special characters. A strong password is key to protecting the data of Coloradans that is stored in the systems we use every day. 
  • Turn on multifactor authentication (MFA). MFA provides extra security by providing a secondary method of confirming your identity when logging into accounts. This added step prevents unauthorized users from gaining access to your accounts, even if your password has been compromised.
  • Recognize and report phishing. Phishing attacks have become an increasingly common problem for organizations of all sizes. It’s important every individual stop and think before clicking on a link or opening an attachment and know how to spot red flags.
  • Update your software. One of the easiest ways to protect accounts and information is to keep software and applications updated. Updates are periodically released to fix software problems and provide security patches for known vulnerabilities.

And remember, the stolen identity of a single authorized user can trigger a massive breach. A breach of at least one set of credentials belonging to an employee or other authorized user can grant attackers access to internal systems and sensitive data that can expose customer data. Attackers can then exploit stolen credentials repeatedly because many people use the same credentials for multiple accounts. 

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