In honor of Data Privacy Week, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced steps New Yorkers can take to safeguard themselves from having their personal data compromised online.

“All too often, New Yorkers fall victim to online criminals because they don’t take basic steps needed to protect their personal data,” Governor Hochul said. “During Data Privacy Week, we are raising greater awareness of these schemes and urging all New Yorkers to protect themselves and their personal information to avoid becoming a target of these unscrupulous actors.”

In a press release, Gov. Hochul said that the State Office of Information Technology Services (ITS) has teamed up with other state agencies to promote techniques for protecting private data including raising awareness of phishing schemes, using strong passwords, and exhibiting greater caution with information shared on social media.

“Under Governor Hochul’s leadership, New York State continues to safeguard personal information and educate on steps to minimize cyber risk to prevent New Yorkers from falling prey to data thieves,” ITS Chief Information Officer Angelo “Tony” Riddick said. “In an even more connected world as the workforce continues to use remote tools, National Data Privacy Week reminds us of the effective steps we must take to protect our information and remain vigilant against cybercrime.”

“Online activity generates vast trails of data,” Hochul’s office said. “Websites, apps, and services collect information on behaviors, interests, and purchases, as well as other sensitive data such as Social Security and driver’s license numbers or health information.”

In a press release, Gov. Hochul’s office identified specific steps New Yorkers can take to keep their sensitive personal information private and secure:

  • Being wary of unsolicited emails and telephone calls asking for personal information;
  • Keeping devices updated by enabling automatic updates for devices and applications, including mobile devices;
  • Being careful with Wi-Fi hotspots;
  • Limiting personal data collected by mobile apps;
  • Being cautious about the information shared on social media;
  • Using strong passwords;
  • Using hard to guess security question answers;
  • Using multifactor authentication to access accounts; and
  • Being aware of phishing schemes.

“Consumers are using the digital marketplace more and more each year to buy the most basic goods and services,” Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez said. “It is important to remember that the convenience of shopping online comes with the inherent risk of cyber criminals that lurk online seeking to steal money and your identity for their benefit. Today we commemorate National Data Privacy Day by reminding New Yorkers to safeguard their online privacy. Even small steps, such as frequent password changes, go a long way to remaining vigilant in thwarting cyber criminals and identity theft.”

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs