Data Privacy Day is more than an annual reminder to change your passwords. If somebody told you that you have malware on your computer, would you know what that means? By definition, ‘malware [mal-wair]: software intended to damage a computer, mobile device, computer system, or computer network, or to take partial control over its operation’. Though spyware (form of malware) can be applied in several technologies, there are two important things notes to be aware of…

  • They (spyware) can download themselves onto your computer without your permission. This can happen when you visit an unsecure website or through an attachment in an unprotected email.
  • Spyware can make your computer do things you don’t want it to do. That might be as simple as opening an advertisement you didn’t want to see. In the worst case, spyware can track your online movements, steal your passwords and compromise your accounts.

Below are some steps to ensure you are staying protected, provided by

  • Keep a Clean Machine: Make sure to have the latest security software, web browser and operating system to have the best defenses against viruses, malware and any other online threats.
  • When in doubt, throw it out: Cybercriminals often use links in emails, tweets, posts and online advertising as their main source in attempting to compromise your computer. Don’t hesitate to delete something if it looks suspicious, even if you recognize the source.
  • Protect all devices that connect to the Internet: Computers are no longer the only way we connect to the Internet, make sure smart phones, gaming systems and other web-enabled devices also have protection from viruses and malware.
  • Plug & scan: Don’t forget to scan “USB” drives with your security software to be sure they have not been infected by viruses and malware.

Great Plains Communications wants to make sure your computer and information are safe. Keep all of these tips in mind as Data Privacy Day approaches next week and for more information go to

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