We’ve all experienced the eerily timed ad on a connected device. It can make you wonder how
much data companies are collecting. In fact, according to a 2021 AARP survey, 83% of
Americans aren’t confident their privacy is protected on the web.
Protecting your data privacy is smart and you have a legal right to do it. Here are four tips for
keeping your personal details safe and secure.

Evaluate a VPN (Virtual Private Network).

A VPN acts like camouflage for your computer’s
location. It encrypts your data, making it difficult for hackers to target you and companies to
collect info on you. However, it’s not a cybersecurity cure-all. You still need to use caution in
selecting a VPN provider and watching what you click and download.

Use a decoy email.

In order to safeguard the email address you use for personal messages or
communicating with your bank, set up a second “junk” email account to use for everything else
– or use an alias. Gmail offers a feature that allows you to add “+Facebook” or “+Nike” at the
end of your address to use for specific sites, and Apple’s Hide My Email feature enables you to
sign up for accounts with an anonymous email address it will generate for you.

Consider a password manager.

Creating and remembering unique passwords for each
account can be cumbersome. Maybe it’s time for a password manager – a paid service that
generates strong passwords that streamline your security. If using a service like this feels like
putting all of your eggs in one basket, you could try the “salting” technique – adding a few
random bits of data at the end of the generated password to make it more secure. You can also
thwart hackers by choosing multifactor authentication whenever it’s offered.

Limit app permissions.

It’s wise to look into how connected devices might be using your data.
There are currently few laws on the books to prevent a company from selling your info. For
example, if you want to turn off recordings on Alexa, Amazon’s popular voice assistant, you
would go to Settings > Alexa Privacy > Manage Your Alexa Data > Choose How Long to Save
Voice Recordings, then choose Don’t Save Recordings in the app.
If you want to explore a few more ideas to shore up your cybersecurity, check out this article for
more information.

Material prepared by Raymond James for use by its advisors.