Whether you log into a bank account, email a coworker, or post a photo on a social media page, every action you take can potentially compromise your digital presence. Identity fraud has become an epidemic in recent years, and that’s arguably due in part to the lack of attention people pay to their cybersecurity. And the things we do online can have huge consequences offline.
It could just be a few bad credit card purchases or the theft of your crypto assets. But it can also be a person using your SSN to access credit that they do not intend to repay. Someone may also try to impersonate you on social media and interact with your friends with malicious intent or share confidential information that could negatively impact your business. Even your former employer can get all the data about your activities. These results can wreak havoc in your personal and professional life. The good news? Avoiding problems is actually not very difficult. Below are five ways to protect your digital identity.
Make sure your connection is encrypted
Take a look at your browser’s address bar. Do you see the little padlock on the left side? This means that this site uses encryption. By using these sites, you make sure that you share your data securely. Unencrypted sites make you vulnerable and put you at risk of having your personal information stolen.
It might be harmless if you’re just playing a game or reading a blog post. But if you enter passwords or credit card information it can get risky. It is especially dangerous to use public Wi-Fi networks, where attackers with the right skills can see your activity.
However, it’s not just about the sites you visit. If you store information in the cloud, make sure you have the added protection of the cloud. For added security, use a VPN that masks and encrypts your traffic.
Do a background check on yourself
When you think about your digital identity, you probably think about the things you see every day: your email, your Twitter feed, your YouTube account, etc. Here’s the problem: Much of what makes up your digital identity is what you can’t see. The best way to see the full picture is to perform a background check on yourself.
By using sites like UnMask, you can see your entire digital footprint. Whether you’re applying for a job, home rental, or credit, knowing all the information about yourself that is available to others can help prepare you to answer tough questions. It also allows you to erase any criminal or financial information that has been falsely reported and remove anything you haven’t realized online.
Another benefit of doing a background check on yourself is seeing if you are a victim of identity theft. You can see if someone is scrolling like you by browsing financial records, social media platforms, dating sites, and many other data sources. With this knowledge, you can take control before the digital breach spreads into the real world.
Have a password manager
You’ve probably seen the standard password manager app on many phones. These simple tools are essential to ensure that you are using strong, unique passwords that are never repeated between accounts.
Creating passwords alone is no longer enough. In a world where a single Facebook account can log you into multiple other services, all it takes is access to a single email account and a hacker can access all of the other accounts. A password manager can help you update your passwords regularly, use strong passwords that cannot be guessed from personal information, and use different passwords for all of your users. accounts.
Most password managers are easy to use. All you need to do is set them up and let them automatically fill in your login details when you go to your favorite sites. It also protects you from phishing scams. If a web page is fraudulent, your password manager will not capture the password.
Monitor your online activity
Too many people use the Internet on autopilot. Find, scroll, click and repeat. It is as natural as breathing. However, if you’re looking to protect your digital identity, it’s crucial to be critical of every piece of information you enter and share. Think of a post on Instagram, for example. Does your photo inadvertently reveal sensitive information? Is there anything that could reveal the answer to a secret question on one of your accounts? Remember that your internet presence does not exist in a vacuum.
It is also important to be on the lookout for phishing scams. As mentioned above, using a password manager is an effective way to stay secure. But that may not always be enough. If you ever get an email or text asking for information, always check the source – even if it appears to be from a reputable organization. Never give out your information unless you know 100% where it is going. And don’t click on suspicious attachments.
Monitor your offline activity
Managing your digital presence means monitoring your behavior in the real world. For example, you should always be skeptical about receiving unexpected calls from your bank or utility company. Many crooks will attempt to contact you offline to validate information online.
They can then use that information to infiltrate your accounts, move cash, and get their hands on your social security number. Although less common, some scammers will even attempt to contact you in person. Beware of seemingly harmless interactions with people who seem a little too curious for casual conversation.