Better at: cybersecurity
Hackers, phishing scams and credit card fraud, protecting your identity can be overwhelming. So today we are going to talk about tips, tricks and products to protect your valuable information online.
KAIT HOWELL: Hackers, phishing scams and credit card fraud. Protecting your identity can be overwhelming. So today we are going to talk about tips, tricks and products to protect your valuable information online.
Let’s take a look at the most obvious part of cybersecurity, your password. Never use the same password more than once. Cyberattacks can target websites and services with below average security. And once you’ve used a password on one of these sites, they can then try it on all your other accounts to see if they can get in. In addition to having different passwords for different sites, make sure 2-step verification is enabled whenever possible. This way you have an extra layer of protection if your data is hacked somewhere online without your knowledge.
I don’t know about you, but remembering a million passwords is definitely not one of the skills I’m known for. So it might be tempting to let your browser remember it for you. But according to experts, that’s a no-no. Instead, you want to invest in a password manager that specializes in creating complex passwords and keeping them secure. Use a password manager like LastPass. This way, there is no longer any need to try to remember your password and find a good one.
If you’re strengthening your online security, one thing you want to focus on is your email. For many of us, our primary email is used everywhere, on every site we sign up for or on every purchase we make. However, it is also used as a backup if you forget your password on a site or even your online banking account. This makes your email a prime target for hackers because once they get in, they essentially have the keys to the castle. So try using an email burner for site logins. This way it is not connected to any crucial information or bank.
If you want to know if any of the sites you’re using have been involved in a breach, check out HaveIBeenPwned.com, which will let you know what sites you’re on and where your data might have been compromised. Watch your credit. This is something most people probably don’t do. You can check your credit card purchases, but people can also apply for lines of credit in your name if they have your information. You can sign up for a credit monitoring service that will alert you to anything suspicious. Or it’s just worth checking your credit score once in a while to make sure you’re okay.
Watch where you are browsing. HTTPS sites are more secure than HTTP sites because they use a layer of encryption between the browser and the server. This is especially important when buying online. You can easily identify it because the browser will show a padlock next to the website address. However, dubious sites can easily fake this, so to verify, click on the padlock to see the security certificate. It should say issue to and match the name of the website you are on.
Clean up your cookies and history. This one may be common sense, but maybe so much that we forget to do it. Better yet, set your preferences to prevent websites from storing cookies. Cookies can collect your personal information, do things like automatically fill in forms, and they can also slow down your computer. It is therefore worth removing them or even banning them altogether. Beware of social media. If you are an oversharer, just be aware that your public account could give hackers exactly what they need to target you.
For example, if you forget your password, some sites use key questions to get you to log in. Some experts suggest lying about the answer or asking your own question where it would be very difficult to find the answer. Questions like what’s your first dog’s name, well, you might have already shared this with your 2,000+ followers, and one of those followers might be Burney the Cyber Hacker. Experts also suggest deleting any connected sites or apps that are linked to your social accounts or emails.
It’s so easy and convenient to sign up for new sites and services this way, but opt for this email burner instead. Now, in addition to being online, using an e-wallet for in-store purchases is a great option. Some smartphone apps generate a one-time code, meaning it’s only good for that purchase. And you avoid the possibility of data theft by a credit card scammer. If you like to hold your wallet in your hands and don’t like the idea of it being on your phone, it might be worth adding a layer of physical protection to your cards.
Although experts say that RFID, or Radio Frequency Identification, theft is quite rare, this wallet can protect your account, especially cards that use an RFID chip, like your credit card or driver’s license. And of course, using a VPN, logging out of social sites before you start browsing, and updating all your devices and apps adds an extra layer of online protection. So what are you waiting for? Start clearing those cookies, updating those passwords, and improving cybersecurity.
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