Dartmouth Guide to Digital Hygiene


Digital hygiene, self-care in the digital realm, involves a series of practices and habits aimed at safeguarding and enhancing one's digital well-being. Much like self-care routines contribute to physical and mental health, digital hygiene focuses on maintaining the health, security, and overall well-being of our digital lives.

Protect Personal Information

Protecting your personal information is a crucial aspect of digital hygiene, focusing on safeguarding one's private data in the digital realm. This practice involves being judicious about the information you share online, including personal details like your address, phone number, and financial information. It's like setting boundaries in personal interactions, but in the digital space.

Strengthen Online Privacy Settings

  • Review Social Media Settings 
    • Regularly adjust privacy settings on social media, limiting public sharing of personal details like address, phone number, and email.
  • Check Resumes and CVs
    • Ensure resumes or CVs posted online don't contain sensitive information. It's common practice for students to use their educational email addresses for professional purposes. However, it's important to use discretion and ensure other sensitive information (like home addresses, phone numbers, date of birth, or social security number) is not included alongside your email address on these documents.
  • Broaden the Scope Beyond Social Media
    • Include cloud storage, shopping sites, and other platforms where personal behavior or preferences could be exposed.
  • Remove Contact Information from Public Directories
    • Note: current students may request that Dartmouth directory information not be released without their prior consent.  The request for a confidentiality hold must be made in writing, with a student's signature, to: the Registrar of Geisel, Guarini, Thayer, or Tuck, or  the Undergraduate Deans Office for students enrolled in the College. For more information, please see https://student-affairs.dartmouth.edu/policy/dartmouth-institutional-ferpa-policy
  • Adjusting Privacy Settings on common platforms
    Click Here - For Platform Specific Instructions
  • Be Cautious with Online Sharing:
    • Think Before Posting: Carefully consider what personal information you reveal in posts, especially backgrounds in photos and details in public forums and profiles.
    • Avoid oversharing: Be particularly wary of sharing your schedule, location, extended absences, and responses to trending social media posts that probe for personal details.
  • Beware of Scams:
    • Recognize Deceptive Tactics: Stay alert to attempts at phishing or unsolicited offers that may be too good to be true.
    • Email Vigilance: Exercise caution with email attachments and offers, understanding that legitimate entities won't ask for sensitive information via email.
  • Practice Safe Browsing:
    • Identify Secure Websites: Look for 'https' in URLs and verify the legitimacy of websites before sharing personal information.
    • Avoid Malicious Sites: Stay clear of suspicious websites that might steal data.
    • Reputable Site Engagement: Only share personal data with well-established, reputable sites.
    • Consider Impact of Forum Participation: Be aware of potential repercussions from engaging in online forums.
    •  Click Here - For More Safe Browsing Tips 
  • Consider Using an Alias:
    • Minimize Digital Footprints: When signing up on new or sensitive sites, contemplate using an alias to protect your interests and privacy.
  • Review Your Digital Footprint:
    • Audit Social Media and Online Profiles: Periodically check and clean up old posts and profiles.
    • Protect Domain Registration Info: If you own a website, ensure WHOIS information is private.
      • WHOIS is a protocol used to query databases for information on the registration of domain names and IP addresses. To keep WHOIS information private and protect personal details from being publicly accessible, many domain registrars offer a privacy service or WHOIS privacy protection. This service replaces your personal information in the WHOIS database with the information of a forwarding service (done by the registrar) or a proxy, thereby keeping your personal details confidential. To ensure your WHOIS information is private, you should opt for these privacy services when registering or managing your domain through your domain registrar's website. Please contact your domain registrar for more information.
    • Stay Informed of Data Breaches: Sign up for breach notifications and monitor how your data is shared online (see "Protect Your Accounts").
    • Set Up Alerts:
      Click Here - On How To Setup Alerts

Protect your accounts

Protecting your accounts is a critical component of digital hygiene, emphasizing the need to secure your online accounts to safeguard against cyber threats These steps are vital in preventing unauthorized access, protecting against potential risks such as hacking, identity theft, and data breaches.

  • Use Strong and Unique Passwords for Each Account:
    • Password-Protect Your Computers and Devices:
      • Ensure all your personal devices are secured with strong passwords.
    • Leverage Built-in 'Strong Password' Features:
      • Before utilizing a password manager, it's essential to secure your device and linked accounts (like Apple or Google) with multi-factor authentication (MFA) and strong passwords, as these credentials, if compromised, could give attackers access to all your stored passwords, posing a significant security risk.
      • Windows: The Windows Security settings offer recommendations for creating strong passwords and can integrate with Microsoft Edge to manage and suggest complex passwords for online accounts.
      • macOS: Apple's Keychain Access provides a password management system that suggests strong, unique passwords for websites and apps, which are then stored securely in the iCloud Keychain.
      • iOS: Similar to macOS, iOS suggests strong passwords for websites and apps, stored securely and accessible across devices via iCloud Keychain.
      • Android: Google's Password Manager integrated into Android suggests strong passwords when you sign up for new accounts or change passwords, storing them securely in your Google account for easy access across devices.
    • Avoid Password Reuse:
      • Using different passwords for each service prevents a breach on one account from compromising others.
        • A motivated attacker can link you to other accounts if you use the same password elsewhere.
        • It's common for attackers to try stolen credentials on multiple platforms.
    • Stay Alert for Breach Notifications:
      • Monitor for alerts that your password or personal information has been compromised.
        • Have I Been Pwned? (HIBP) is a widely recognized website that allows users to check if their personal information has been compromised in data breaches. While Dartmouth does not officially endorse third-party sites, HIBP is a trusted resource for monitoring potential data exposures.
          • Go to https://haveibeenpwned.com/
          • Click on Notify Me
          • Enter the email address you wish to be notified about 
          • The site will now notify you of any new breaches that email shows up in.
    • Enable (Multi) Two-Factor Authentication (2FA/MFA)
      • Activate MFA on All Critical Accounts: Prioritize enabling MFA on accounts that hold sensitive data, like email, banking, social media, and work-related platforms.
      • Use Authenticator Apps When Possible: Opt for authenticator apps over SMS codes for MFA, as they provide better security and are less susceptible to interception and work when you do not have the best reception.
      • Keep Backup Codes Secure: When setting up MFA, most platforms provide backup codes. Store these codes in a secure location, separate from your device, in case you lose access to your primary MFA method.
      • Regularly Update Your Recovery Information: Ensure your account recovery information (like phone numbers or backup emails) is up-to-date to prevent lockouts. Remember to consider this step when getting a new phone!

Protect your devices

Protecting your devices is a vital element of digital hygiene, focusing on safeguarding the physical and software integrity of your digital tools. The importance lies in the fact that these devices are gateways to your personal and professional life, storing a wealth of sensitive information. Protecting them involves implementing security measures like password protection, encryption, and regular software updates. Additionally, it includes physical care, like not leaving devices unattended and protecting them from damage.

  • Password Protect All Devices: 
    • Set strong passwords for all your devices, including smartphones, tablets, and computers. This is the first and most basic line of defense.
  • Encrypt Your Device: 
  • Shred or Securely Delete Sensitive Materials
  • Physical Security Awareness:
    • Avoid Leaving Devices Unattended: Always keep your devices with you or in a secure location.
    • Be Aware of Your Surroundings: Be cautious when using your devices in public spaces.
    • Secure Paper Documents: Alongside digital data, ensure any physical documents with sensitive information are also kept secure.
  • Shred or Securely Delete Sensitive Materials:
    • When disposing of documents or digital files with personal information, use a shredder or secure delete software to prevent recovery.
  • Software Protection:
    • Install Device Protection Software/Antivirus: Protect your devices from malware and viruses.
    • Keep Software Up to Date: Regularly update your device's operating system and applications to patch security vulnerabilities.
    • Regular Data Backups: Consistently back up important data from your devices. This ensures you have a recovery option in case of data loss.
  • Use Secure Networks:
    • Avoid Public Wi-Fi for Sensitive Tasks: Public networks can be insecure. Use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) for a safer connection.
    • Secure Your Home Wi-Fi Network: Ensure your home Wi-Fi has a strong password and updated security settings.

For more help with this process 

Please don’t hesitate to call our Client Technology Consulting team at (603) 646-2999 | toll-free 1-855-764-2485 or email help@dartmouth.edu for help.

The information provided in these guidelines does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, the guidelines are provided for general informational purposes only. The guidelines contain links and references to third-party websites which are provided for the convenience of the reader and are not expressly endorsed by Dartmouth College.  



Article ID: 155669
Mon 11/20/23 3:00 PM
Mon 2/26/24 1:17 PM