Steps to Protect Your Identity Online

UltraSpectra Security Essentials Kit

Digital Security Tip

Turn on automatic updates. You can set your computer, browser, apps, and phone to update automatically as soon as new updates become available. Set it and forget it!

Security Tips

Data breaches are one of many online threats. Using secure internet connections, updating your software, avoiding scam emails, and employing better password hygiene will help you stay safer while you browse.

Be wary of public Wi-Fi networks.

You can get Wi-Fi almost anywhere. But these open networks are the most vulnerable and tend to be the least secure. This includes the free Wi-Fi at restaurants, libraries, airports, and other public spaces. If you can avoid it, don’t use public Wi-Fi. Most importantly, don’t use these networks to log in to financial sites or shop online. It’s easy for anyone to see what you’re doing.

Instead, we recommend using a Virtual Private Network (VPN), which lets you use public Wi-Fi more securely and keeps your online behavior private. A VPN routes your connection through a secure server that encrypts your data before you land on a web page.

Run software and app updates as soon as they are available.

Updating software on your computer or phone can seem like a pain, but it’s a crucial step to keeping devices safe. These updates fix bugs, software vulnerabilities, and security problems. Regularly updating your smartphone apps and operating systems makes your devices more secure.

Tips for keeping all your online accounts secure:

  • Use unique, strong passwords for every account
  • Use a password manager to remember all your passwords for you
  • Turn on two-factor authentication for an extra layer of security
  • Use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) when using public Wi-Fi
  • Update to the latest version of all software and apps

Be vigilant about the emails that seem even a little bit stranger.

Phishing is a type of email scam that is becoming increasingly common. In these emails, hackers impersonate a service or company you trust. These emails can even come from one of your contacts. They look like the real thing because they mimic the design of authentic emails, like those from your bank or email provider.

The goal of these hackers is to get you to unknowingly enter your password or download a document that can infect your computer. Most online services won’t ask you to enter your login info directly from an email. If they do, you should instead go directly to their website to log in.

Think before you fill anything out. Does this email seem out of the blue? Does something seem off about it? Are you being asked to log in to an account to update something? Don’t click, and don’t enter your password anywhere. Open your browser, and type in the address of the company website instead.

Know the classic signs of a suspicious email.

  • Displays grammar or spelling mistakes
  • Send address looks unusual
  • Promises something that seems too good to be true
  • Asks you to log in from the email itself
  • Asks you to open or download a file that you don’t recognize

Be selective about who you give your email address to.

The more online accounts you create, the greater the risk that you’ll be involved in a data breach. Many companies, services, apps, and websites ask for your email. But it’s not always required. Here are some ways to avoid giving out your email address:

  • Don’t create an account if it’s not required. For example, many online shopping portals allow you to check out as a guest.
  • If a website requires an email address, use services like 10minutemail or Nada, which allow you to create a temporary one.
  • Create a different email to sign up for promotions and newsletters. Don’t include any personal info that could be used to identify you in that email address, like your name or birthday.

Use unique, strong passwords for every single account.

One of the best ways to protect yourself online is to use different passwords across all your online accounts. This way, hackers won’t have the keys to your entire digital life if they get their hands on that one password you use everywhere.

Your passwords also need to be strong. Single words (like sunshine, monkey, or football) make for weak passwords. So do these 100 most-commonly used passwords, which include password and 123456. Avoid pop-culture references, sports teams, and personal info. Do not use your address, birthday, names of family members, or pets’ names. The longer and more unique your passwords are, the harder they will be for hackers to crack.

Remember all your passwords with a password manager.

Ever forgotten your password? It happens all the time. The average person has 90 online accounts. And we’re being asked to create new ones all the time.

The good news is you don’t have to recall all your passwords from memory. Password managers are secure, easy-to-use applications that do the remembering for you. They even fill your passwords into websites and apps when you need to log in. All you need to remember is a single password — the one you use to unlock your password manager. They can even generate hard-to-guess passwords to help make your accounts more secure. All your data is encrypted, making password managers pretty secure — even if they get hacked.

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