Data privacy week is celebrated in Canada on the last week of January each year. As we increasingly conduct our day-to-day lives online and use technology, it often means we’re sharing our personal information, which can put us at risk.
The first line of defense for online users is having a strong password. National Password Day is an annual reminder to keep your login credentials safe and secure.
It is good to maintain password hygiene throughout the year, for instance there are times when you should change your password immediately:
- You are made aware of unauthorized activity on one of your accounts.
- Your device was compromised or infected with malware.
- If you have ever shared your account with someone else.
- If a service that you use suffers a data breach or other cybersecurity incident.
- You accessed your account using a public computer.
For streaming services, its common to share passwords within a household, think about changing those shared passwords every six months. When online shopping, never share your passwords. There are ways to link accounts and if a service provider or company provides two factor authentication, use it. For email, never share your password, consider changing email passwords every three months. Many social media services can act as authentication sources for other sites and services, for example “log in with facebook/google/apple”. This method is convenient and safe, however if the account you use to log in gets compromised, it can provide access to all other sites you have linked. If you maintain a very strong password hygiene practice you may change your password only when there is concern your password was compromised or the detection of unauthorized activity.
Ready to change your password? Here is how to create a good password:
In Canada, government and business both have a responsibility to protect your privacy. Your right to privacy is rooted in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In addition to provincial and territorial laws designed to protect your privacy rights, The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) is responsible for overseeing two federal privacy laws.
Visit the OPC website where there are many resources on privacy including a privacy quiz for youth, activity sheets for kids, and privacy awareness for seniors. Explore more issues related to your online data and privacy with the booklist below.