We have to deal with the hundreds of applications and online accounts over here every day which requires us to input our personal data like our names, phone numbers, locations, passwords to create a profile. One way or the other, however, we put it, our existence is scattered across the internet.
We likely have accounts at forums or dating sites that we haven’t been to in a decade, and each and every one of those accounts is a potential avenue into our private life for a hacker; Hence the need to secure them.
These are some of the best ways to keep those online accounts secure—and they’re all brief and easy to do, so no excuses.
If you visit a particular account once in a blue moon or never at all, now is the time to close it. Because guess what happens to your old unused online accounts on the web? They get hacked! And sometimes they lead the way to the more valuable accounts that you really do care about. It really makes a lot of sense to stick to a few active accounts that you can manage so that you get fewer usernames and passwords to worry about.
Speaking of usernames and passwords, do away with all those sticky notes with your passwords scrawled on them. There are apps that can help out here. Password managers like 1Password keep all your passwords and important information protected behind your Master Password. It has extensions or plug-ins for all the major browsers, and can securely store other things, like credit cards, bank accounts, and licenses. You can save all the entries from a web page form, so you can remember answers to security questions or other information.
⦁ Add two-factor verification: This means that even if someone gets ahold of your username and password, they won’t be able to log into any of your online accounts on a new device without an extra code delivered over SMS or through an app. This also means they’ll need physical access to your devices. You can set it up on most online accounts, including ones for Apple, Google, and Microsoft.
Monitor your account activity: Many of your online accounts let you check up on the recent activity. Make this a regular task to make sure nothing seems off. You can typically log out of all sessions but the current one, and revoke account authorizations for any devices you don’t recognize.
⦁ Delete third-party account connections: Keep these connections to a minimum and remove any you’re not using, to prevent any potential medium for hackers to get to you. You can easily manage your connected apps online for your Facebook, Twitter, and Google.
⦁ Trust no one: Be careful not to trust anyone. Be wary of profiles that send you to spam messages or social media messages with malicious content. Also, be careful of following links without any context and be aware that phishing scams continue to get smarter and trickier to identify.
Think before you click and read up on the latest threats.
If you get kicked out of your Facebook account by someone, you can get your friends to let you back in, as long as you tell Facebook who you trust beforehand—go to Security in Settings to set this up. Facebook sends your friends one-off codes you can use to regain access, codes which they’re told to only pass on to you. It’s that simple.
⦁ Stay informed: One of the easiest but most effective ways of keeping your accounts secure is just to stay up to date with the tech news. If you know about the latest threats and breaches, and how to deal with them, you won’t be caught out.
⦁ Add PIN code protection: This is the most basic security tip that most of us are aware of and currently practicing. A PIN code or password login on your phone or laptop is all that stands between your phone and passing strangers, so if you haven’t set one in place, please do now. Whether your devices offer password protection, or fingerprint ID sensing, or facial recognition, or iris scanning, make sure there’s something there that stops other people from logging in. Case closed.
⦁ Watch what you share online: Make sure personal details that can be used to verify your identity, like your home address, your birthday, or even what soccer team you support (is that your “secret security question”?) aren’t all over your online accounts’ profiles.