Protect Your Data: 30-second privacy fixes

A recent poll revealed about two-thirds of Americans say that they are very or extremely concerned about hacking. From your smartphone to your smart speaker to your smart security system and even smart door lock, here's what can you do to protect your data and privacy.

A recent poll revealed about two-thirds of Americans say that they are very or extremely concerned about hacking. They may have good reason to be. Devices such as smartphones, smartwatches, fitness trackers and security systems suffer about 5,200 cyber-attacks a month and the average household is hit with 104 threats every month.

From your smartphone to your smart speaker to your smart security system and even your smart door lock, what can you do to protect your data and privacy?

Our devices have the capability to give us information at the simple touch of a button or voice command. But are these devices outsmarting us when it comes to our privacy?

Some apps for traffic reports, weather forecasting, or even food takeout can track your location, even when you are not using these apps.

If you are using an iPhone, go to settings, privacy, and then location services, then toggle the control off to stop transmitting GPS data. You can also tap each individual app to control which ones get access, always, never, or only while you’re using the app.

For Android, you will go to settings, location, and app location permissions. From there you can choose location off altogether or choose which apps can access location. Workers at Amazon, Apple, and Google may listen in on recordings from your smart speaker to improve their voice computing technology. If you prefer not to have a stranger listen to your recordings, you can delete recordings on devices, such as Alexa by saying,

“Alexa, delete what I just said”

or

“Alexa, delete everything I said today.”

Before you use the feature, you will have to activate it by going to the menu bar in the Alexa app, choosing settings, Alexa privacy, managing your Alexa data and switching to enable deletion by voice.

And Facebook can track you through hundreds of thousands of partnerships it has with apps and websites to get details on what you do across the web for advertising purposes. To limit the company from tracking you when off their website, go to the menu and hit settings and privacy, view or clear out off-Facebook activity, manage your off-Facebook activity, and select the clear history button. Then tap manage future activity and switch it off.

One more privacy fix: set up multifactor authentication, or two-factor authentication when it is offered. It helps to block hackers from gaining access to your accounts even when they have your password. Typically, you would need to provide additional information, like a code by text, when logging into an account from an unverified location or device. You can set multifactor with your Gmail account by going to the grid icon and go to account, security, two-step verification and then get started.