We live in an age where finding out someone’s information is as easy as clicking a few buttons. Thanks to social media platforms and the internet, people are sharing more information about themselves than they need to. Some things are worth keeping as a secret, especially your online identity. From online shopping to mobile banking, many of us make ourselves vulnerable to cybercrimes every day.
Protecting your online identity is important in that you’ll stay safe in situations where cybercriminals try to steal your identity, banking information, or other personal information. If you’re wondering how to stay safe online, keep reading below to find our best tips and tricks.
Use Multiple Passwords
Your first line of defense when it comes to securing your online identity is creating multiple unique passwords. Sorry, but password123 or your dog’s name followed by a 01 probably won’t protect you from cybercriminals trying to gain access to your money. Instead, opt for a hard to guess password that isn’t as obvious. There are numerous password generators you can take advantage of online, and to ensure you don’t forget any of your important passwords, download a password management app right on your smartphone.
Also, we know how easy it is to log into all your apps and favorite websites using your Facebook account or Google account. But, if someone gains access to one of these accounts, they’ll be able to view all of your linked accounts and apps.
Stay Safe on Social Media
There are many reasons why social media is bad for your data security. From fake accounts and impersonations to spam, viruses, and malware, social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are just some of the platforms where your personal data can be compromised.
If you put too much personal information on your social media accounts, cybercriminals are able to use that info to open bank accounts under your name. These phishing scams are sometimes hard to detect, which is why you should always be careful online and never hand out your Social Security Number or sensitive information to people you don’t know. If this happens, they can begin spending money, lowering your credit score and causing you financial stress.
Additionally, it’s important to teach your children about protecting themselves online. Today, many children are victims of cyberbullying cases and often meet people online before in person. To prevent any harmful incidents from occurring, stress to your children to never release information about their physical location and other information so cyber predators don’t gain access to them.
Avoid Public Networks
Sure, we all love going to our local coffee shop, claiming a table, opening up our laptop, and going straight to work. Getting out of the office or your home is a great way to avoid distractions and get your creative and productive juices flowing. However, joining public networks is one of the easiest ways for cybercriminals to access your information.
On open-access WiFi networks, cybercriminals are able to gain access to your information through man-in-the-middle tactics. When you join a public network, your information will go from point A (your computer) to point B (the router). However, on open networks, a hacker will be able to interfere with this connection and gain access to your data.
One way around this is by using a virtual private network (VPN). VPN services will encrypt and anonymize your traffic, ensuring no one can gain access to your private details. Additionally, when on a public network, make sure you:
- Disable file sharing
- Use a VPN and antivirus software
- Always log out of accounts when not using them
- Only visit sites that begin with HTTPS
Be Sparing with Online Purchases
In the age of Amazon, there’s nothing better than having a drone drop off your groceries to your front door within a few hours. While online shopping is extremely convenient, it puts you at risk of a security breach. To protect your info from cybercriminals, try using only one credit card for all online purchases, and make the credit limit low. This way, if hackers do gain access to your banking information, they won’t be able to spend thousands of dollars.
The Bottom Line
Today, there’s nothing more important than staying safe online. While technology is always getting smarter and more secure, sometimes cybercriminals can be one step ahead. To have a one-up on these hackers, protect your online identity with tips such as creating strong and unique passwords and being safe on social media.