Your personal and private information is online – whether you use the internet or not. In either case, there are basic rules that we all should follow to protect the privacy of everyone we connect with online. Some seem obvious, yet they are still the leading causes of breaches and other internet security issues.
Even if you’re not online ever, you are not completely safe. Most of your financial information and accounts are online, whether you’ve accessed them or not. If you choose not to use online access, make sure that you shred all information mailed from your institution about how to access your accounts online.
First: have different user names and passwords for each site. This is something everyone typically says that they are aware of, but few actually practice it.
It appears as if professional hacking groups have already hacked enough data and private information to have a lifelong shopping spree or to fund their devious acts. It is speculated that hackers have hacked data from many different sites, and devote much of their attention looking for similarities or patterns in many of your personal accounts. These patterns are typically with repetitive passwords or user ID’s.
Knowing that it is possible for the personal and private details of your accounts to be out in cyber land, the best thing that you can do is to frequently change both your user name and passwords to many of your accounts. Make them uniquely different in all cases and remember to change the passwords regularly. The challenge is to remember them all.
The worst place to store them is on a little cheat sheet tucked under your keyboard or on a list stuffed in a desk drawer. Even the dumbest of home criminals know to look for these. You need to come up with a secure technology or other safe method to remember them.
Even your personal social media accounts can be used to corroborate information about you. It is recommended that even on personal sites that you not list all of your accurate personal details. While it may be fun to have all of your friends send you birthday wishes through your favorite social media site, this is just another method for cyber criminals to learn about your date of birth, your hometown and maybe even your mother’s maiden name!
There is no magic bullet or app that we can buy that will prevent identity theft and people hacking into your accounts so we must be vigilant about keeping our information fresh and unique.
Other measures to consider would be to investigate identity protection services and ask the credit agencies to put a freeze on your credit sharing information so that the agencies will need your permission to release any financial information about you.