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“Nothing personal” — Sharing data on a need-to-know basis

BY SJONES83 – OCTOBER 25, 2021

Editor's note: This is the final article in our four-week series to help our community #BeCyberSmart during the ASU Think! Campaign.

The extent to which your life, your preferences and your schedule are etched into your devices feels almost magical. However, there’s no supernatural force telling your technology so much about you — it's simply the power of raw data. From cookies to location tracking, the puzzle pieces that make up your life can be easily fitted together. Though this enhances convenience in your daily routines, it is imperative to keep this wealth of information from falling into the wrong hands.

All that connects to the “Internet of Things” (IoT) — like phones, iPads and laptops — can be vulnerable to cyber-spying if left unsecured. The following actions will aid you in safeguarding your data and protecting your privacy:

  1. Research and understand the data each app, software or service is collecting from you. Does this app track your activity across other applications and websites? Does it store highly personal information, such as payment methods or addresses? Though some tools naturally and understandably collect sensitive information (such as banking applications or doctor’s office scheduling systems), others simply do not have a need for personal tidbits in order to function. Before opening an app, cultivate a clear understanding of the data it will be collecting from you.

  2. Be mindful of GPS tracking and stored location data. Does the ordering app for your local arts and crafts store really need to know where you are 24/7? Unless you've forged a dubious pact in exchange for unlimited papier mâché supplies, chances are, they don't. Take the time to disable location services in the settings of apps you know don’t need them, keeping your whereabouts private.

  3. Remove apps or software you no longer use. Beyond gathering virtual dust, apps that you haven't recently updated — let alone reviewed your security preferences for — can come to develop problematic gaps in security. If you’re no longer using a certain tool, deleting it protects you from the vulnerabilities inherent to outdated software. 

Don’t fear your data — leverage it to your advantage! Reaping the benefits of staying connected by IoT is easier than ever before. Visit GetProtected to learn more about sensible data management and browse other resources during ASU Think! Campaign for Cybersecurity Awareness Month.

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Be sure to check out our other stories to publish during ASU Think! Campaign this October. Read: 

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