Check privacy, security settings off your list

Have you checked your privacy and security settings on your smart devices lately? You may not know that many companies have pre-configured their devices to collect, share, store or sell your personal data. 

Here are a few steps that you can take to protect your data privacy.

  • Don’t just accept the out-of-box configuration settings. Often, you have some choices when it comes to exactly how your data is collected, shared, stored or sold. You can’t lock down all of your data, but you can take simple steps to manage your data on devices. See 10 Holiday Tech Gifts With Hidden Privacy Problems.
  • Review privacy and security settings. Set the privacy and security settings – and regularly review them – on each of your web services and IT devices. It is important to select appropriate privacy and security options that meet your needs and level of comfort when it comes to sharing your personal information. Also, unplug, mute, delete and disable any settings on smart speakers, cameras and devices that may be unneeded to ensure privacy.
  • Disable unwanted and unnecessary services. Capabilities such as bluetooth, Near Field Communication, unsecured Wi-Fi and GPS provide convenience, but they can also make it easier for a nearby, unauthorized user to access your data. Be sure to turn these features off when you are done using them.
  • Delete unneeded apps. Apps have access to collect and gather different types of information about you. Take an inventory of which apps are running on your device and delete any that you don’t really need. In lieu of using an app, you can also access numerous online services through a secure web browser.
  • Secure data from physical loss. Enable lost-device functionality. If available on the device, configure the settings to automatically wipe all data after a specific number of incorrect logins (e.g. 10) are attempted. Also, enable the option to wipe the device remotely, if available.
  • Do not expose IoT or other smart devices to the public internet. Be sure to place your IoT or other smart devices behind your home network firewall, which is typically a feature provided by most routers and wireless access points. If your network equipment allows for creating segments in your home network, it is wise to separate IoT devices from your other connected devices such as laptops, smartphones and tablets. See your network equipment help guides for assistance.
  • Reset old devices. Before selling or disposing of IoTs, it is a good idea to “reset” your smart devices such as hard drives, tablets, printers, routers and smartphones to the factory setting to remove any data stored on the device. Securely wiping equipment is an important step to prevent identity theft, data breaches or data disclosure.

To learn where to find and change your privacy and security settings on internet-connected devices and online services, view the list compiled by the National Cybersecurity Alliance.