For most individuals, the idea of implementing security practices in everyday life seems overwhelming. However, now more than ever, individuals need to be cognizant of how to protect their identities, as cybercriminals are constantly finding new ways to commit fraud.
To help keep your digital identity secure, we’ve wrangled five quick and easy tips for individuals to up their security.
1. Create strong and long passwords for your accounts.
Splashdata released the results of their worst password list for 2015, and “123456: and “password” topped the list once again for the most commonly used passwords. We cannot stress enough the importance of using secure and unique passwords for your online accounts. Be sure your password combinations are at least 12 characters long, and use a cryptic combination of letters and numbers. Avoid easy-to-guess passwords, like your name, birthday or pet’s name.
2. Use two-factor authentication on your accounts whenever possible.
Two-factor authentication, also known as multi-factor authentication, is an extra layer of security that requires not only a password and username but also an extra credential, like a PIN or biometric scan, before gaining access to your accounts. While this adds a step in the login process for you, it becomes more difficult for cybercriminals to access your accounts.
3. Pay attention to software updates.
Do not prolong software update notifications, as software updates usually address security vulnerabilities. Keeping your system up-to-date with the latest patches is important to stay secure from malicious threats. Don’t ignore these notifications.
4. Remove your birth date from Facebook.
Your birth date is considered personally identifiable information (PII). It is a valuable piece of information, which can be used to distinguish your identity. For instance, birth date may be used as a reset question, which cybercriminals can use to crack your online accounts. Removing your birth date from public-facing social sites adds another layer of protection against identity fraud.
5. Check your privacy settings on your social accounts.
Social media over-sharing can put your identity at risk. Revealing information, like location or PII, can put you at risk of identity theft or worse. Check your privacy settings across all social platforms, and ensure you’re only sharing posts with people you trust.
Arming yourself with these simple, but impactful tips can help keep your personal information secure. For more information on how to help protect your identity, check out our Tips page.