With the enormous benefits of globalization, it has also become a challenge for users to keep themselves safe while surfing online. Besides reaping the benefits of the online world, it is also necessary to be aware of hackers and cyber-criminal activities so that you pave the ways to protect your identity on the web. Your identity is publicized as soon as you start using any social network, send an SMS, or make a post. Therefore, you must be careful in managing your online identity for your own protection.
A slight negligence in handling your online platforms can put your identity at stake because online perpetrators are always looking for a loose end to get in and steal your data through phishing scams, breaching your accounts, stealing credit card data, etc. So, if you do not act now to safeguard your privacy, there is a probability that you might be the next victim of identity theft.
Well, no need to worry about it. Let us walk you through some interesting tips and tricks that can help protect your identity online.
1. Avoid auto-saving passwords
Portable devices like cellular phones and laptops are often stolen. It would be a matter of minutes for an identity thief/ hacker to get access to all your data. Many, if not most, individuals store passwords and other sensitive information on their devices for convenience, but what is handy for the user is also convenient for the thief as well. To protect your online identity, it is better not to use automated login features, log out of your devices after using them, and not to save logins, passwords, or other personal information.
Although the internet is a quick and easy mode of communication, transactions, and several other online activities, it is also a quick and easy way for criminals to access your personal data. Like most other criminals, online identity thieves mostly target “soft targets” – those who provide a significant payoff with little effort. Maintain solid internet security and try to avoid saving passwords on the devices.
2. Remove cookies
Cookies are minor text files that save information about your browser’s behavior and allow websites to recognize and preserve your data. Cookies are classified into two types: session cookies, which only stay for one browsing session, and permanent cookies, which remain on your computer even after you have stopped using your browser. Removing your cookies will limit third parties’ accessing your identity to some extent.
To erase cookies, navigate your browser’s settings and look for a section labeled “manage cookies.” From there, you can delete cookies.
3. Avoid opening spam messages and links
Most people, particularly teenagers and elderly people, when online, frequently get spam messages and fake invite links from strangers. Clicking on them is dangerous as they will eventually expose their identity if they try to open them. This can be frightening, weird, and even humiliating. Inform an adult immediately who you trust if you are being harassed online by a stranger.
Responding is never a wise idea; it can simply make it worse, and the chances of being attacked by hackers and cyber criminals multiply. If anyone tries to approach you, discuss it with your elders. Nuwber can navigate you better in case you want to cross-examine a stranger’s identity.
4. Manage privacy settings
Sharing too much content related to yourself on social media can be lethal, and your personal information may end up landing in the wrong hands. You can protect your identity online by managing your privacy settings to restrict the number of people who may view what you’re posting.
The University of Texas Centre for Identity provides advice on managing privacy settings on various social networking networks. You should also consult their privacy settings if your children use social media. When posting online, make sure kids know what’s appropriate to share—and what’s not.
5. Close accounts that are not in use
You must have online accounts you created some time ago. If you are not using those accounts, consider closing all of them. Because if one of these accounts is breached, hackers may get access to any personal information associated with it.
For instance, an old email account might have several previous bank statements and healthcare forms—and those papers could contain personal information that could lead to identity theft. Spend some time finding and closing off unneeded web profiles. The less personal information you save on the internet, the better it will be for you.
6. Set up strong passwords
Generate strong passwords and update them over time to protect your identity online. Never reveal that password to anybody other than your parents or a responsible person you trust. In short, nobody should know your secret passwords, not even your best friend, boyfriend, or girlfriend!
7. Keep an updated security software
Some people might not understand how crucial it is to update your security software. The free trial on a new laptop or computer may expire after a set time, leaving your data without protection.
Suppose you maintain files on your computer related to your taxes, financial transactions, or copies of your paperwork. You get them secured by using antivirus/ security software. The main use of such software is to do daily, weekly, and monthly scans of your computer to check for any potential trojans or viruses so that you can identify the potential threat in time and can take preventive measures.
8. Everything is permanent once online
Online platforms offer many ways to communicate and exchange ideas with people worldwide. Additionally, there are no “take-backs,” and everything is permanent. Even when you remove something, a lot of what you post and do online may still be viewed by others, and it’s simple for others to copy, preserve, and distribute your information. So you must think twice before putting any of your precious information online.
We will conclude by saying that similar to how your real-life identity is developed, so is your online reputation. In addition to the positive side, where people stay connected online and have access to everything happening in real-time, the virtual world also has a dark side. Therefore, you must be vigilant and cautious while surfing the internet. Being responsible and exercising caution before posting can help you prevent regrettable online identity trials.