The Importance of Protecting Online Identity
At this time, we can safely assume that our computers house much, if not all, of our personal data (ex. calendars, credit cards, photos, social security numbers, banking information etc…). While computers give us easy access and ways to store this information, they have also brought with them numerous cybersecurity challenges.
The Federal Trade Commission estimates that as many as 9 million Americans experience some form of identity theft each year, with cybercrime being one of the most prevalent forms of identity theft. Cybercrime does not cause real-life damage, yet it is known for how easily it can make millions of dollars disappear, causing psychological trauma to those unlucky individuals as a result.
Protecting your identity is a valuable commodity. It’s not only the key to your financial identity, but also your online identity. Knowing how to protect your information and identity is a must. Here are some tips to doing it effectively.
Understand and Use the Privacy Settings – Make sure to understand the application’s policy on the collection and storage of data and utilizing the data stored. Be aware and cautious of links to games, quizzes, and other applications made available through social networking services.
Create Stronger Passwords – Don’t use any personal identifiable information (where you were born, dog’s name, mom’s name etc…) when creating your password. Make sure to use symbols, numbers and caps on letters when allowed. Set a time for your password to be updated every 30 days.
Verify Emails – Make sure to verify all email addresses with links, pictures or attachments. If possible, validate through another source, before clicking any links or forwarding email.
Avoid Posting Personal Identifiable Information – Refrain from posting or using personal identifiable information (social security number, date or place of birth, mother’s maiden name, home address etc…) when using your computer.
Avoid Giving Away Your Location – Do not give away your position through GPS or location links or by posting updates about places where you are or where you will be.
As we advance further in the world of IT, it is important we remember to keep our information and PII secure.
These steps are not going to stop cybercrime, but they will make the adversaries’ jobs much harder!