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6 Data-Backed Strategies for Ensuring Your Online Identity Is Secure

6 Data-Backed Strategies for Ensuring Your Online Identity Is Secure

Thursday, January 26, 2023/Categories: Your Security

The internet is a wonderful thing when things go well. But it's also full of hackers and scammers looking for ways to steal your identity and your money. Don't let them do it! While it's impossible to be 100% safe online, there are some things you can do to protect yourself from these bad actors. In honor of Data Privacy Week, observed January 22-28, a week of awareness dedicated to respecting privacy, safeguarding data, and enabling trust, here are some tips for keeping yourself safe on the internet.

Don't use the same password for everything
It's easy to lose track of your passwords, especially if you have many accounts and are constantly creating new ones. When it comes to keeping your accounts safe, don't use the same password for more than one account. Using the same password for multiple accounts is a security risk because if a hacker can obtain the password for one of your accounts, they can access all your accounts that use the same password. This is known as "credential stuffing."

Plus, if a company with an account experiences a data breach, your password could be exposed. If you have used the same password for multiple accounts, the hacker may also access those accounts.

Use different passwords for each one and make sure those passwords are strong. Avoid using the same password for multiple accounts, and use a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols to create strong passwords that are difficult to guess. It's also good practice not to share your passwords with anyone, even family members or friends who you think would never misuse your information.

Use a password manager
You can't have too many tools in your online security toolbox; it may make sense to use a password manager. Password managers store all your login information in an encrypted database and automatically fill in that information on websites and apps when needed. They also generate strong passwords for sites where you don't have an account.

Password managers are valuable tools because they make it easy to use long, complicated passwords. They can be an indispensable part of any good cyber safety strategy.

Factors to consider when choosing a password manager:

  • Look for a password manager with strong encryption to protect your passwords and personal information.
  • Choose a password manager that is easy to use and has a user-friendly interface.
  • Make sure the password manager is compatible with your devices and operating system.
  • Consider the features that are important to you, such as the ability to generate strong passwords, store secure notes, and auto-fill login information.
  • Consider the cost of the password manager and whether it is within your budget. Some password managers offer free versions with limited features, while others have paid versions with more advanced features.

Be careful about what you post on social media
Social media offers an easy way to stay in touch with friends and family, but also has risks. Avoid putting personal information on your profile because someone sinister can use your information to steal your identity. Things like phone numbers, email addresses, and physical addresses should never appear on a personal social media profile (this is different from say, an official Facebook business page for example).

Set up two-factor authentication for all of your social media accounts
Two-factor authentication (also known as two-step verification) is an extra layer of security that, for example, requires you to enter a code sent to your phone, in addition to your username and password. This means someone with your username and password alone cannot access your account.

You can use two-factor authentication for most accounts: email, social media accounts, financial services, and even some fitness trackers or health apps. If you have an account with something valuable stored in it, set up two-factor authentication for it. It's an extra layer of protection. 

Keep your software and devices up to date
Make sure you have the latest security updates and patches installed on your devices to protect against vulnerabilities. These updates often include fixes for weaknesses that hackers can exploit to gain access to your device or personal information. This is especially important for devices that connect to the internet, such as computers, smartphones, and tablets.

To ensure your devices are up to date, regularly check for and install updates. Many devices have an automatic update feature that can be enabled. Once turned on, it automatically downloads and installs updates as they become available. You should also ensure your antivirus software is up to date, as this can help protect against malware and other online threats.

Be cautious when clicking on links
Don't click on links in emails or text messages from unknown sources, as they could be phishing scams designed to steal your personal information. Never go to a website through an email link. Instead, open a new browser to access that site.

There are many ways to stay vigilant about protecting your identity online. By following these tips and staying informed about new safety features available to you, you can feel more confident about protecting yourself online. You can get security updates and more on the Andover Bank website.