Fix Your Digital Security Risks in a Weekend
By: Shaun Murphy, CEO of sndr.com
The average American has about 27 unique online logins according to a 2016 poll by Intel Security. Everyone knows they need strong passwords to keep these accounts secure, but there are other strides people can be taking to improve online security as well. These include having a more secure username and not linking credit or bank accounts. Taking a few hours over a weekend to make a few simple changes to online accounts can make all the difference in protecting your digital privacy and security. Start with the following steps:
- Create an Anonymous Username – A revealing username can be just as risky as a weak password. If your username includes portions of your name, details about your location, your birthday or other meaningful numbers like an address, or if you use an email address as a username change it to something more random. Also, avoid sharing usernames across accounts. If a hacker has your username and can glean information from it or use it to get into multiple accounts you are making it easier for the criminal to steal your information and money.
- Unlink Financial Accounts – While it is easy and convenient to make payments for online purchases without having to enter your credit or bank account information every time storing those details online means you are leaving them on display if a security breach occurs. If you want to link an account, link a prepaid credit card that will have little to no value to a criminal.
- Wipe out History and Passwords – Clear your browser history and delete cookies to remove saved passwords from all of your devices. Clearing saved personal information from your web browsers regularly will protect your data if you accidently access an unsecure website.
- Make Dozens of Email Addresses – Some email providers including Gmail, Outlook and Yahoo allow users to alter their email address into infinite number of disposable addresses. For example if your email address is email@example.com and you want to sign up for a new deal website you can alter your email address just for that site by adding an identifier to it. Your new email address for that site could be shauntips+FreeRunningStuff@gmail.com. This keeps your actual email address private and can help stop criminals from being able to track your online history simply by searching for one of your email addresses.
- Stop Digital Hoarding and Delete Old Stuff – You have your pick of many social media and cloud storage options that will happily store your files, pictures and videos all for free. The problem with this convenience, and relatively generous capacity, is you tend to stick stuff in these systems and never take it out. This can lead to a dangerous mixture of relatively benign content mixed with sensitive material (tax information, intimate pictures, etc.) that might just be leaked during a data breach or hack.
- Double Up Passwords – Enable two-factor authentication on your important web services (email, social media, etc.) so in the event that someone does gain access to your passwords they need a second code to get in. Guidelines for setting up two-factor authentication can be found at http://www.google.com/landing/2step/.
- Kiss 2000 Good Bye – If the last time you updated your apps and operating system was the turn of millennium you are asking for someone to break into your digital accounts. Take a few hours over the weekend to check for and run any needed updates and upgrades to make sure your security defenses are the most recent.
SNDR is a technology firm dedicated to restoring privacy to online communications for the individual and enterprises. Its easy-to-use solutions deliver top-level security protection for text messages, emails, and messages sent or posted on social media and other public forums. SNDR protects everyday communications from the moment they are sent or posted until they reach the designated recipient for decoding. Visit www.SNDR.com for additional information.