P is for Protecting Ourselves Online
P is for Protecting Ourselves Online
Cyber Crime continues to be a growing threat we need to protect ourselves from. Yet it will not deter millions around the world from using the internet. After all, the internet has opened the doors of worldwide communication. Today we can connect, communicate and share information with a click of a button. We can listen to music, stream videos, read world news, create a blog, open an online business, or join a support group. The list of positives is endless. But it is important to protect yourself online as well.
However, there are negative sides, such as being bullied on social media, and privacy violations. When we use the internet to transfer personal electronic data, we expose ourselves to the possibility of a cyber-attack.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice an estimated 17.8 million Americans, roughly 7%) were victims of identity theft and 86% experienced the misuse of an existing credit card or bank account. Financial losses from cyber theft resulted in a total of $25 billion loss, exceeding all other property crimes by $10 billion.
A recent Symantec Internet Security Threat Report shows there are 25 connected devices per 100 inhabitants in the US and by 2020 between 50 to 200 billion devices will be connected. Keeping this in mind, we know the internet is here to stay, and we will want to continue to play. Let’s implement a few techniques that may provide an extra level of security when protecting your data. Here are a few suggestions:
Need to incorporate letters, numbers, symbols and should be a minimum of 12 characters long. Never use the same password for all your accounts. If voice activation or a two-step verification is an option, use it, especially for bank accounts and credit card login. Keeping track of many passcodes can become a chore, consider investing in a secure passcode manager app that allows you to store and backup all your passcodes.
Hide Your Location
Use a VPN or Private Network, which allows you to create a secure connection to another network over the Internet. VPNs shield your browsing activity from prying eyes on public Wi-Fi and add an extra level of protection.
Secure your Computer
Purchase an Internet security software and make sure you update as needed.
Visit Secure Sites
When you shop online, be sure the connection is secure by checking the address of the website, if it starts with “https” or you see a green box with a padlock, it is typically secure.
Never use Public Wi-Fi
Especially when shopping or banking they are most likely a shared network and not secure. Always make sure you are on a secure network. If you need Wi-Fi when you are away from a secure network, consider buying a hotspot through your cellular carrier.
Use a Screen Blocker
When using your laptop or tablet in public places, it will make it difficult for anyone other than the person right in front of the device to see any information on your screen.
Limit Your Data
When using social media, a completed profile may cause you more harm than good, especially a correct birthday date which is a piece of personal identifying information. Protect yourself with less is best. Omit pet’s names, addresses and any other information that may be used to answer security questions and access your accounts.
On your banking, financial and credit card services. They can inform you immediately of any suspicious activity through a text message, email or a phone call.
Always review charges on your bills to ensure you did make the purchase or pay the correct amount. If you find a mistake, be sure and report it right away.
Go to ss.gov, login in and create an account before a thief beats you to it. Do this for your children as well.
Continue to be aware of the ever-evolving risks involved on the internet. And use the above tips to help you start a mindful cybersecurity practice. These simple steps can help us all protect our identity and financial information from the online cyber thief.
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