As people continue to spend more time online, they may give more thought to how they can protect their personal information. Unfortunately, the number of scams that try to trick people into sharing their personal information is also increasing. If you want to know more about how to protect your online identity, then this article is perfect for you.
If you are concerned about your identity being at risk online, then there are simple steps you can take to protect yourself. If you want to improve the security of your personal information when you are online, you may also buy an identity theft protection service that protects your personal details from identity thieves. However, buying a protection plan can be costly and if you don’t have a budget to spend then the following tips are a good place to start.
1. Don’t Use the Same Password on Multiple Sites
Using the same password on multiple sites is not recommended because if this password is discovered, then all of your online accounts can be accessed. You should also avoid using passwords that could be easily guessed. Ideally, passwords should be randomly generated with a mixture of letters, numbers, and special characters.
Many people find that using a password manager is helpful if they have a lot of online accounts. This can help you keep track of the different passwords that you have for different sites. The password manager can also generate passwords for you, which gives another layer of security.
2. Use Two-Factor Authentication When It Is Offered
Two-factor authentication is one of the best ways to prevent your online accounts from being accessed from elsewhere. When you log in to your account, you will be asked for another way to prove your online identity. This is often a code that is sent to your mobile phone or to your email address. You can also set up a security key which you would need to enter to be able to log in to the account. It means that even if someone guesses your password, they won’t be able to access your account without the additional authentication.
3. Don’t Postpone Updates
Updates for browsers can contain important security updates. Therefore, you should run the update as soon as you are reminded. If you really do not have time to update there and then, you should make sure that you do it as soon as possible. Updates on phones and tablets should also not be overlooked, especially if you use these devices to access the internet.
4. Don’t Click Through Links on Emails If You Are Unsure of The Sender
One of the main ways viruses can get onto your computer is from links in emails. They can also be used to impersonate genuine websites in an attempt to gain personal information. There are some things you can look for when you receive an email that may indicate that it has not come from a reputable source:
- Check whether the email refers to you by name rather than just a generic greeting.
- If there are spelling mistakes in the text, then this can be a warning sign.
- When you click on the sender, check whether it matches the company that it is supposed to be from.
- If you have any doubts about whether the email you have received is genuine, then you should never click on any links. You should go to the website directly and log in from there.
5. Check That Websites Have HTTPS Security
HTTPS is an indication that the website you are using is secure. This is something you should always check before you enter any personal information on a website. You can identify HTTPS by looking in the URL bar. If the website is secure, then the text will be green and there will be a small image of a padlock next to the web address.
6. Use Browser Extensions That Increase Your Privacy
There are several examples of browser extensions that will help keep you safe while you are surfing the internet. The advantage of using these extensions is that they will automatically protect your information, so you do not have to keep thinking about safety issues. When you are searching the internet for some time in one session, you may find yourself straying onto sites that are not secure. When you are using an extension such as Privacy Badger or AdBlock Plus, you will be notified if there are any security issues on the sites that you are using.
7. Be Careful What You Share on Social Media
Potential hackers can glean a lot of information about you from social media. They may use it to guess passwords if you have used the names of your family, and information such as your date of birth can also be worked out fairly easily. You should check the settings of your social media sites regularly to check that details such as your phone number are not on display. It is also recommended that you only make your profile accessible to family and friends.
8. Take Care When Using Public Wi-Fi
If you are using public Wi-Fi, then it is very unlikely that the connection will be secure. Therefore, you should think carefully about the sites you are using when connected to this Wi-Fi. It is a good idea just to stick to general browsing and to stay away from things such as internet banking. If you are using public Wi-Fi, then using it alongside a VPN can disguise your location and make it more difficult for your device to be accessed.
9. Keep an Eye on The News
If there are any major security issues that you need to be aware of, then it is likely to report in the mainstream media. This is also true if any big companies suffer from a data breach. If a breach has taken place, then the company involved should contact you if your data has been compromised. If you do read about a data breach that you are worried may have affected you, then you may want to change your passwords as a precaution.
So, these were some ways in which you can prevent your identity from landing in the wrong hands when you are online. The best part is that all of these tips are free to implement and are easy to follow. However, if you are at high risk of identity theft then you should definitely buy yourself an identity theft insurance plan from a good company. These insurance companies keep track of your personal details and alert you on time when somebody tries to steal your online identity. Once you are insured you can be relaxed and enjoy being online!