How to Start Protecting Yourself Online Today
Whenever we head out the door, we will lock up our homes and keep our pockets zipped up. This is to protect our belongings against any slim chances of theft. However, it’s so much easier to protect your physical belongings than your virtual ones. There are less of them, they can be locked away, you can set an alarm, and we have the advantage of being vigilant about anyone who may be going for our phone or wallet.
Protecting ourselves online is much harder. All of our data — from login details to personal information to even our buying habits — can be exploited for financial gain. Sometimes you won’t notice the breach because it won’t be your computer that was stolen from, but another business that has your personal data stored away.
Knowing how to protect your online identity is the first step to protecting yourself online, so follow these steps today:
Go Through and Find Old Accounts
Old accounts that you don’t use anymore are big security risks, especially if the company has stopped updating their security and are generally running into bankruptcy. In these cases, old accounts are easy pickings for hackers. If that account has personal data like passwords or answers to security questions, you could face a hack somewhere else.
Update All Passwords so They are Unique
All of your passwords should be unique. Every single one. There are tricks to help you remember all of these passwords or you can invest in a password manager that offers encrypted protection on every account.
Old accounts aren’t the only threat to your livelihood. Old posts, news articles — anything that mentions you in a bad light — is something you need to address. On top of Googling yourself, your email, and your phone number, you will also want to go through your old social media posts to ensure that nothing from the past can hurt you in the future.
The data you need to worry about isn’t just slanderous posts, either. If you publicly mention key data, like where you were born, who your grandmother is and their maiden name, or even what your dog’s name was, then it is a risk. They are answers to your security questions after all!
Use Two-Factor Authentication for Everything
If two-factor authentication is available, use it. This way you will be required to have your phone or access to another account to login from a new device or computer.
Encrypt Your Data
Most laptops will offer the ability to encrypt your data, so if someone steals your computer, they can’t just hack their way in without destroying everything private. This is more necessary for business owners and those whose laptops are worth more than their lives; but, it is still an easy and worthwhile step to take.
Use a VPN
To protect your search history and online activity you will want to invest in a VPN, especially if you like working in cafes or other public spaces. Free Wi-Fi is easy for hackers to gain access to and hack into your data.
The level of security you will want to go through will depend entirely on the data you want to keep private. The above list of suggestions can keep your personal data safe from hackers, but if you own a business or work with sensitive data daily, more measures will need to be taken.