The 10 Best Ways to Secure Your Online Identity
There’s a high chance that you spend more time online nowadays as the internet has become an integral part of our lives. These online interactions pose a risk of exposing your identity to cyber threats.
Cybercriminals aren’t backing off anytime soon, so it’s your responsibility to protect yourself from extortion. Keep reading as we discuss effective ways to secure your online identity.
1. Install Security Suites
A security suite is a collection of tools that prevent malicious software from compromising your data. It offers anti-theft features such as anti-spam, website authentication, password storage, and spam detection to prevent sensitive data exposure and data breach.
Norton Antivirus, McAfee, and AVG Internet Security are just a few well-known examples of security suites that you can use to protect yourself online.
2. Check Encryption on Applications Before Use
Confirming that applications are encrypted before making transactions online helps secure your identity. For a start, you need to look out for the most trusted security lock symbol; the extra “s” after internet protocol HTTP in the URL or web address bar.
This means that “HTTP” becomes “HTTPS” on a secure credit card website. You’ll also see a lock icon in your browser’s address bar or bottom-left corner. These two signals show that the site is encrypted, and no one can view the information provided to the owner. Encryption protects your identity, phone number, address, payment card number, etc.
3. Create Strong Passwords
Another way to stay safe online is by creating a strong password. When creating a password, it’s crucial to select a passphrase that hackers can’t guess easily.
For example, it’s not a good idea to use a word or number that someone else can easily associate with you, such as your first name, the name of your spouse or child, phone number, or any other characters or symbols that can be used to identify you.
To protect yourself, choose a password with a mixture of letters, numbers, and symbols, as well as uppercase and lowercase versions of the same number. You can also leverage password managers for more security. It’ll help you generate and store passwords, providing additional protection against unauthorized access.
Password managers like NordPass and 1Password are some well-known password managers.
4. Install Web Browser Blacklisting
Have you ever encountered the display message, “this site may harm your computer”? This is a warning display message that shows that the site you are about to access is blacklisted.
A web browser blacklist is a basic access control mechanism that blocks malicious attempts of hackers from accessing your email addresses, user logins, and passwords. When you add a website or email address to a blacklist, it means that they are potentially dangerous and not secure for visiting.
Blacklisting is an efficient method for keeping you safe from visiting websites or links that may cause significant damage to your files. So, you must blacklist sites that show signs of phishing.
5. Use Private Data Protection
Private data protection is an additional layer of cybersecurity that keeps sensitive information away from the public space. The privacy data protection suit keeps your data within your network and prevents external access.
You’ll be notified if unauthorized users try to get into your network. And until you grant them access, their efforts will be in vain.
6. Enable Only Vital Browser Cookies
Cookies are little text files that enhance your surfing experience by allowing websites to remember your browsing preferences. Cookies also make it possible for you to visit select websites without having to sign in each time you visit.
Unfortunately, hackers can use the information obtained by these cookies to wreak havoc on your company’s computer infrastructure. This is because when cookies are enabled on a website, that site will be able to track your browsing patterns on other websites. So, don’t enable cookies on a site until you are sure it’s necessary.
7. Delete Existing Cookies
There are several reasons why you should consider deleting cookies from your browser. They pose a risk to your network as they could enable cybercriminals to gain access through accessing your browser sessions.
Cookies can track your data, including search and browsing history, IP addresses, and other online interactions.
8. Avoid Using Public Wi-Fi
Public Wi-Fi connections are open to just about anyone, and malicious actors can easily infiltrate them. Hackers understand that many users connect to public Wi-Fi, and they devise means to break into connected devices.
Make it a rule to steer clear of public internet connections, especially when you can’t vouch for their security. In situations where you have no choice but to utilize free access to the public internet, avoid inputting anything that could compromise your identity.
You can also choose a secure Virtual Private Network (VPN) for browsing while you’re away from home. The information you send and receive will be encrypted, making it much harder for cybercriminals to tap into them.
9. Don’t Overshare Online
With the rise of social media apps such as TikTok, Twitter, Instagram, Discord, and Twitch, many users are caught in the cycle of sharing too much personal information over the web. Most of the time, the pieces of information users share on these social platforms lead to invasion of privacy and identity theft.
Be mindful of what you share with the online audience. If you don’t post your personal details, attackers won’t have much information about you to work with. Data such as your home address, social security number, credit card details, and bank information should be off limits.
Another way to secure your online identity against cyber threats is to limit your credit card use for online shopping and general payments on third-party sites. But if you must shop online, be mindful of online shopping security threats and how to prevent them.
How reputable is the store you are shopping on? Stores with a reputation put extra security measures in place to secure their customers. When a site asks for your personal or financial information, look for “HTTPS” in the URL to verify the site’s safety and privacy.
Protect Your Online Identity at All Costs
Your identity is a huge part of who you are as a person. Protecting it is the same thing as protecting yourself. As long as you know the potential indicators of identity theft, you’ll have a better chance of nipping it in its early stages, allowing you to continue enjoying the time you spend online.
So, keep yourself up to date with emerging cyber threats that endanger your identity online and implement the necessary measures to stay safe.