Until that changes, and I strongly recommend no breath holding, we have to take the securing to our digital identity into our own hands.
There is no foolproof way to protect our digital identity, but every step towards tighter security is a step further away from digital danger. So, let’s take a few steps together.
Step 1: Strong, Unique PasswordsBy now, you’ve heard it a million times, but it is clear that some of us, including Kayne West, simply do not listen. Having a strong, unique password for every account and every device is both necessary and effective.
I no longer expect you to remember every password. I expect you to use a good password manager like Last Pass or 1Password. If you’re a Mac, consider using Keychain. Each of these options will help you create long and complex passwords, keep track of account login information, and add an extra layer of protection for your data.
Step 2: Turn On 2FATwo Factor Authentication requires you to use a secondary, separate verification method to access your account. Often, an access code is generated by, or sent to, your mobile phone. Alternately you may have a dedicated physical device, often called a token. There are even further options.
Regardless of the 2FA methodology, the short version is, it makes it harder for bad guys to get into your account because it is less likely that they would have both your password and access to your secondary authentication method.
Step 3: Use a Secondary Email AccountSpeaking of secondary, do not use your primary email for social media and other non-mission critical website or accounts.
Take the time to set up an alternate email address specifically for registrations. This account would not be for friends and family, nor would it be for correspondence with your financial institutions. This account would be exclusively for the ‘other stuff’.
Step 4: Keep Your Devices UpdatedYou don’t need the latest device, but you do need the latest Operating System (OS) and apps. Developers are always on the hunt for bugs and vulnerabilities. They fix these with updates. Without updates, you may be leaving your system open to hackers. Close up all possible loopholes by updating your OS, your anti-virus software, your firmware and your applications across all devices.
Step 5: Review and Refresh SettingsSomething else developers do, change privacy policies, terms and settings. Often, without telling you.
So, you may think your profile is private and unable to be shared with third parties, only to find out the hard way that six months after you took nearly an hour to perfectly tweak your privacy settings that the website you visited is using your clever content in a not so clever marketing campaign.
Put to stop to this, or at least try, by periodically reviewing your settings and refreshing where necessary. Look closely to ensure you didn’t 'opt-in' to something you wish you’d never heard of. Double check to make sure that the privacy policies match your expectations.
These five steps are the first steps, to maintaining the credibility of your identity online. Execute. Repeat.
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