It’s no news that nowadays the majority of us have our whole lives online. We can do our banking and shopping, catch up with friends, and access our files and photos at any given moment and wherever we have a connection. That’s a whole lot of personal information. Although security standards in tech are being improved every day, the first steps in securing our online identities are up to us. After all, the alarm system is of little use if the door is wide open. Here are some simple rules to follow to make sure your online identity is always protected.
Come up with strong passwords
It all starts with really good passwords for your online accounts. A good password should be at least 8 characters long, should include both uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters such as !, @, #, ;, (, ), +, /, ?. If your password happens to be on the world’s most popular passwords list, it’s time to change it – fast. Think of a phrase you can easily remember but one that is hard to guess – first words of your favourite song are a good one – then capitalise some letters and replace some with symbols. Now that’s a winning combination!
Change them like your socks
If someone has got a hold of your password, they might be accessing your account without you knowing. As a precautionary measure, you should change your passwords often. That way you will reduce the risk of such unauthorised access.
Lock your devices
Are any of your devices constantly connected to Facebook? What about your email accounts? Can you imagine if someone you didn’t trust got a hold of your unlocked computer or phone? To prevent that from happening, lock your devices with a password or code.
Take a closer look at your social media profiles
Make sure there is not too much personal data on your social media profiles. Your address is definitely not necessary and you should think twice about sharing your exact birth date and phone number too. People with a lot of personal details on their social profiles are at greater risk of identity theft and stalking.
Sharing is not always caring
It’s really exciting to share your holiday news on social networking sites, check in at the airport and live-tweet from your hotel pool, but it’s not very clever. Monitoring people’s social media profiles for when they’re not home is a much more common practice for criminals planning their robberies than we’d like to admit. It’s better to boast about your experiences after you’ve arrived back home.
Caution with public networks
Using a free Wi-Fi network that is not password-protected can put your private information on display. That means anyone nearby can monitor the information passing between your computer and the Wi-Fi hotspot. Avoid doing important activities such as shopping or banking over public networks.
Turn the lights out when you leave
If you’re using a public computer or even that of a friend, make sure you’ve logged out of all of your online accounts before you go. This helps ensure you won’t end up with updates you never posted or worse – locked out of your own account.