During the Season of Giving, Don't Give Out Your Personal Information

  • Nov 7, 2016
  • Stop.Think.Connect Campaign
Image During the Season of Giving, Don't Give Out Your Personal Information

From smart phones and tablets to gaming systems and e-readers, this year’s holiday wish lists are more wired than ever. Many of us will immediately load photos, user accounts, and other personal data onto our new gadgets, eager to enjoy them.

However, if you are giving or receiving the newest tech toys this holiday season, don’t forget to secure new devices from cybercriminals on the hunt for personal information. Smart phones, tablets, and other electronics are now as powerful and functional as many computers. Therefore is important to protect those devices just like you protect your computer or laptop. The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) provides the following tips to safeguard your data:


  • Lock your device when you are not using it. Even if you only step away for a few minutes, it's enough time for someone else to steal or destroy your information.
  • Disconnect your device from the Internet when you aren't using it. The likelihood that attackers or viruses scanning the network for available devices will target you becomes much higher if your device is always connected.
  • Keep software up to date. Install software patches so that attackers cannot take advantage of known problems or vulnerabilities. Many operating systems offer automatic updates.
  • Consider creating separate user accounts. If there are multiple people using the device, someone else may accidentally access, modify, or delete your information. If you have the option, create different user accounts for each user and set the access and privileges for each account.
  • Establish guidelines for usage. If there are multiple people using your device, especially children, make sure they understand how to use the device safely. Setting boundaries and guidelines will help protect your data.
  • Back up your data. Whether or not you take steps to protect yourself, there will always be a possibility that something will happen to destroy your data. Regularly backing up your data reduces the stress and consequences that result from losing important information.


For specific information on securing gaming systems, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s OnGuard Online at www.onguardonline.gov/articles/0270-kids-parents-and-video-games.


For smartphone security tips, visit the Federal Communication Commission’s Smartphone Security Checker, a new resource that demonstrates how you can be safer when using a mobile device. www.fcc.gov/smartphone-security