As long as you have an online presence, it is vital to protect it every step of the way. From logging onto social media platforms and accessing e-mail accounts to shopping online for your favorite brands, performing online banking activities, and video calling your friends and family, your identity can be exposed in many ways. Here is what you can do about it.
1. Update Software Regularly
Security patches exist for a reason and that is to keep you safe. Make sure you enable automatic updates on all your devices. This way you don’t have to worry about manually checking for dozens of updates or being at risk when inevitable app and system vulnerabilities are identified.
2. Apply Password Best Practices
Many websites have strict password policies in place and they are designed to help protect your account. Whenever such policies don’t exist, keep in mind that password length and uniqueness are the most important factors.
Never use passwords under 14 characters long and avoid reusing passwords between websites, especially if tied to financial information.
3. Invest in Identity Theft Protection
One of the most important steps you can take to improve your digital security is to take advantage of reduced pricing on Lifelock and become a member of their community.
You will benefit from privacy monitoring technology, dark web monitoring, data breach notifications, as well as security and VPN for multiple devices.
Depending on the plan you choose, you could also get bank account takeover alerts, activity alerts for your credit, checking, and savings accounts, alerts on crimes committed in your name, and much more.
4. Learn to Identify Phishing
An e-mail message might ask for your personal data, redirect you to a website that prompts you to divulge credentials or it could have an attachment for you to check.
Most ransomware attacks start out as phishing attempts like these, so don’t open messages from people you don’t know. If a friend of yours has been infected with malware, you might get e-mails on their behalf and think you can trust them.
If you open a message that contains a link, always hover over it to see where it would redirect you. Also, pay attention to spelling and grammar errors as impersonators often make such mistakes.
5. Be Wary of Public Wi-Fi Risks
Public Wi-Fi is convenient and heavily used in airports and bars, especially when traveling abroad. Since you are not required to enter a password, the connection to that network is not secure. You could use it briefly to search for an address, but avoid logging onto any website or using payment methods via public Wi-Fi.
6. Secure Your Mobile Devices
Our increasing use of smartphones for accessing banking details, cryptocurrency wallets, and e-mail accounts has turned them into prime targets for hackers.
To keep your mobile devices and online privacy protected, only install apps from trusted sources and avoid sending personal data via SMS.
Use a mobile passcode that is not the same as your card PIN or your birthday, and keep your phone updated and backed up regularly to the cloud.
Stay Safer Online
At the end of the day, one thing is for sure: hackers will always be tempted to take advantage of negligence and lack of security measures.
To make sure you are not one of the many victims of identity theft, invest in your online protection and cross off your to-do list as many of the above strategies as possible.