Expert: Protecting your data can make a 'massive dent' in cybercrime

Privacy settings and better passwords are simple steps to better data privacy
online passwords
Photo credit anyaberkut/Getty Images

ST. LOUIS, MO (KMOX) - It's Data Privacy Week. But just thinking about trying to keep your personal information private online may be overwhelming.

The head of the National Cybersecurity Alliance says scary images, like pictures of hackers in hoodies, have led many people to feel they have little control over their online data. Executive Director, Lisa Plaggemeier adds, "language like 'attacks' and 'threats' and 'defenses' and it's all very militaristic in tone and that's alienating."

Plaggemeier says there are a few really simple things everyone can do that could make a "massive dent" in organized cybercrime.

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1 - Learn how companies are using your data.

The National Cybersecurity Alliance has created a series of guides to walk you through privacy settings on a variety of apps and online services, including health trackers, banking apps, and eCommerce sites.

Manage your Privacy Settings

2 - Always opt for multi-factor authentication, especially for financial and social media accounts.

"That just means you have to prove you're you in more ways than one," explains Plaggemeier. That could mean you enter a password then received a text code to enter, or she says it could combine a password and facial recognition.

3 - Create long, complex and unique passwords for each of your online accounts.

Plaggemeier recommends using a password manager on your browser, that has a long, complex, unique password and multi-factor authentication.

"I think a lot of people think I have to sit down and spend half my Saturday afternoon putting all my accounts in this password manager." She says the reality is you can add them gradually as you visit accounts.

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