Managing your personal finances online can be easy and time-saving. Still, that convenience comes with a price tag, namely the risk of a security breach that exposes your sensitive data to cybercriminals. Keeping your accounts secure is critical in protecting your identity and finances against wanna-be thieves. Fortunately, you can take a few simple steps to ensure your confidential information doesn't end up in the wrong hands.
Log In Safely
Let's start with how you sign in to your accounts. Keeping track of multiple passwords can be a major hassle, but it's vitally important not to use the same password on multiple sites. Equally important, your passwords need to be much more complicated than your date of birth or anything else a cybercriminal could easily guess. You might consider a password manager to help you keep track of your various passwords, which is definitely better than keeping them written down on a sticky note next to your computer.
The use of a multi factor authentication solution is an increasingly popular safeguard for individuals as well as companies. This sign-in method requires several items of proof before granting access to a site. Traditionally, these data points have included a password or PIN, a physical token, and a biometric such as a fingerprint or voice pattern. This technology continues to evolve and is becoming sleeker and much more user-friendly.
Shop With Care
No matter how you access your accounts, be wary of public Wi-Fi networks. The fact that they are usually free can be tempting, but they are notoriously lax in security, meaning that anyone else in that cafe could easily see your activity. Best to hold off any conducting and shopping or bill-paying until you're safely at home or using a password-protected network.
Also, always double-check for a lock symbol and a URL that begins with "HTTPS" at the top of your browser before entering any personal information into any website. You should also consider using a mobile payment app instead of your credit card for financial transactions, as they are easier and more secure than traditional payment methods.
You've probably heard this advice countless times, but it bears repeating. Install antivirus software and keep it updated. These programs protect against all types of malware, not just viruses. You should also spend some time getting to know your security tools and how they operate so you can be sure you're maximizing their protection.
In addition to keeping your security programs up-to-date, be sure to install the latest updates on all of your computer's software programs. These fixes close potential cracks that cybercriminals could weasel into.
Share With Caution
Be a savvy social media user. Don't overshare anything personal or private, such as your phone number, address, or upcoming vacation plans. All of those details could be put to use to steal your identity or even rob your home. Even if you don't post personal details yourself, the platforms could be sharing them behind the scenes. Check your privacy settings to ensure the highest possible level of security.
Watch out for phishing scams that aim to trick you through email. Cybercriminals are increasingly sophisticated and can create communications that look like legitimate messages from your financial institutions and other companies. Look carefully before opening any email. Are there misspellings or grammatical mistakes? Does the sender's email address look different than what you're used to? Is there something just "off" about the message? Don't click on any links or attachments connected to a suspicious-looking email; delete it and contact the actual bank or business to ask if the message was actually from them.
The ease of online shopping and banking is one of the great advantages technology has brought us. Make sure you're conducting business online safely and securely by employing some simple but effective tactics. You've worked hard for what you have; safeguard it by taking steps to protect your online accounts.