Nowadays, there is little we do not do online. We shop online, we bank online, and we even socialize online. Thanks to recent worldwide lock-down to contain the 2020 pandemic outbreak; our relationship with the digital world has become even more solid.
The Internet, where we share all aspects of our being, is naturally a goldmine for hackers. In the following article, we are here to outline simple practices that you can do to protect your online presence.
1. Keep details of your online profiles to a minimum.
From your birth date to your address and even your phone number; many details of your private life should remain private. Review all of your online profiles. Then, deliberate on whether the information you are sharing with your network is truly necessary.
On top of obvious identifiable information, we also ask you to be attentive for not so apparent details. Details such as local community organizations you attend, photos of where you live, and your daily commute are all valuable and easy ways to identify your vulnerable points.
Really though; who actually needs to know that you attended Pennsylvania County High School in 1998? Hackers!
2. Set up multiple email addresses, each for different purposes.
Consider having more than one email address and dedicate each to different parts of your life. For instance, you can assign one for work, one for sensitive accounts, and one for spam emails. Having assigned accounts will allow you to access different services online with different security levels without compromising your important accounts.
For example, your bank account application has high-security protocols. Your main personal account can be used to access this application. On the other hand, your local yoga studio may be offering a discount when signing up for their app. For this scenario, you want to use a secondary email as their smaller shops most likely have more vulnerable protocols.
3. Take advantage of two-factor authentication.
Two-factor authentications are one of the greatest technological gifts we have been given. It requires a login to include two pieces of information.
These two pieces of information are a combination of a piece you know, a piece you have, and/or a piece you are. Most will require a password and the extra such as face recognition or an automatically generated code. This ensures that a password alone is obsolete.
The best part of it all is that it comes included with many services. Hence, we find it a shame that it goes under-utilized as it is a great way to protect your online accounts.
4. Share your social security number with diligence.
While not a rocket-science concept, it must be repeated as many time as needed. Your social security number is your official identity and reference to your financial history. If someone steals it, you will have to go through great lengths to acquire a new one.
If someone asks for your social security number; it should immediately raise a red flag. Double and triple check who is asking for it; even if it’s only the last 4 digits.
5. Protect devices with passwords and location finder applications.
In case you misplace or leave your device unattended, we recommend that you use a strong password to lock it. Nowadays, most technologies have face recognition or fingerprint locks. It removes the hassle of always typing in your password.
You can also install reputable apps to locate your phone or tablet. These applications can also entirely wipe erase your device clean remotely.
6. Install a VPN and use it every time you go online.
Your data is valuable and you should protect it. From your activities, usages, search history, and purchases; you exchange dozens of details with the digital world. A Virtual Private Network allows you to encrypt your communications so that it can be seen by you and the intended receiver. As a bonus, VPNs also generate new IP addresses so that your activities are very hard to trace back to you.
Using a VPN is the safest way to protect yourself in the digital world. It is particularly important if you are accessing networks you are not familiar with such as hotels, cafes, and public Wi-Fi. Even at home, your ISP could be monitoring you without your knowledge. In this day and age, a VPN is quintessential when going online.