Data Privacy: 5 Things Everyone Can Do to Improve Their Privacy in 2023

4 minute read

Data privacy. It’s a complicated topic in the digital-first world. It’s so ubiquitous, it’s almost become a joke – who hasn’t been talking about a restaurant or new gadget, then suddenly is inundated with ads for those very things? But the reality isn’t funny and represents real risks to individuals and whole organizations. And no better time to discuss it than during Data Privacy Week. 

Our personal data is collected every day, from a variety of connected devices we rely on for information and convenience. And this doesn’t include the illegal data brokerage that takes place in the deep and dark web. We’re talking about legal data collection. Personally identifiable information (PII) is for sale on legal data broker sites, and this increases the risks of social engineering, ransomware attacks, and spear phishing scams.

Insecure individual data puts the individual at risk (obviously), but it also puts their organization at risk. Executives, in particular, are prime targets for opportunistic adversaries. Because of how much information is readily available online, it’s often easier to get information about an executive and leverage that into an attack on the organization than to attempt to attack the organization directly. Executives fall victim to spear phishing and social campaigns like the rest of us, but because of their insider knowledge, it means securing their personal data is extraordinarily important. 

Protect your privacy

Our information is out there. Short of going completely off the grid, you might not be able to control how all of your data is used online. BUT there are most definitely steps you can take to better protect your data and your privacy. First and foremost, you need to decide where you’re comfortable balancing privacy and convenience. New smartwatch? New app? New subscription? The terms and conditions will almost certainly require access to some personal information. 

PRO TIP: If you aren’t reading the T&Cs (i.e., most of us), try resources like – open source sites where individuals review and assess the privacy concerns around what we’re agreeing to when we click the “I’ve agreed to the terms and conditions box.”

Even if convenience is paramount to your lifestyle, you can still take simple steps to preserve certain elements of your privacy. Here’s where to start.

5 tips to secure your data privacy 

  • Police your own social media. Don’t make it easy for people – particularly for threat actors – to get personal information about you. Privacy settings are important, but they aren’t 100% effective at preventing others from accessing your information. Don’t put anything online that you wouldn’t be comfortable with family, friends, and total strangers knowing about you. 
  • Safeguard your data. You’ve heard this before (probably from us, among others), but it bears repeating. Use strong passwords. Better yet? Use strong, unique passphrases and a secure password manager. Implement multi-factor authentication (MFA) wherever possible. Yes, it’s an extra step, but it’s well worth the extra few seconds to better secure your accounts and protect your data.
  • Out-of-the-box encryption. Whether on your computer, tablet, or mobile device, you probably have access to encryption features to help secure your data. Encryption software helps hide your information so it appears as randomly generated data. If you’re not tech savvy but still want to protect your privacy, look up what encryption tools your devices offer and how to activate them. It is often a simple on/off option in your settings.
  • Use secure browsers on all devices. Our data is tracked when we’re online. Even in incognito or private browsing mode, your data can still be exposed. Consider a reputable VPN and/or secure browsers such as Brave that default to better privacy settings. Use these secure tools across all your devices.
  • Remove PII from data brokerage sites. This one is a little more involved (and admittedly, a bit of a plug). But the reality is that data brokers can legally buy and sell your data which introduces security risk. You can go to each data broker site, create an account, and request to opt out from their collections. Given the amount of data broker sites, we’ve also introduced an easier way. You can also try our PII Removal tool to find out what exposures you have. Our PII Removal offers continuous monitoring and automatic removal of PII from more than 100 data broker sites. However you opt to remove your personal information from these sites, it will help eliminate opportunities for adversaries to access and exploit your data.

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