Digital identity security specialists, ID Crypt Global, has put together five steps to help protect your online identity, as their research reveals that Since the start of 2020, data breaches have resulted in the exposure or theft of 46 million personal data records.
The research shows that since the start of 2020, data breaches have resulted in the exposure or theft of 46 million personal data records.
2021 alone saw the theft of almost 20 million records, and while there was a radical reduction in 2021, hackers still breached the data of 2.3 million people.
Businesses ranging from Virgin Media and the NHS to easyJet and Wetherspoons have fallen victim to data breaches, but it’s Equifax and Dixons Carphone that have experienced the most severe breaches, losing 15.2 million and 14 million customer records respectively.
Here are the five best ways to protect yourself online.
The best way to protect your digital identity is to limit the personal information you share online. It’s essential to share certain information in today’s digital-first world, but much of what we share is unnecessary.
From limiting what you share on social media to declining to fill in all optional information on sign-up and registration forms, it’s about sharing the bare minimum and nothing more.
You should also consider what online folders and media you share with other people. While your online security is tight, your friends and colleagues might not be so careful and a breach of their data could lead to a breach of yours.
Use strong, complex passwords
Passwords are often the only barrier between your data and the thieves who want to steal it, so you need to make them as strong as possible. If you need to write them down to remember them, do it on a piece of paper, not on an internet-connected device. Weak passwords can be hacked with minimal effort.
Monitor privacy settings
Every app and website we use has its own default privacy settings. You need to head into your account and make sure you’re not giving them permission to take too much.
Things to turn off straight away include location tracking and geotagging – it’s rare for a company to need to have constant access to your live or historic location.
Think carefully about whether you want strangers to be able to access or even find your social media profiles. You can opt to only appear in searches from your friends-of-friends, or even just your friends.
Even if you choose to be invisible to strangers, your comments, likes, and media can still be searchable, so be careful not to share personal information when engaging with posts.
Use a VPN
A VPN can hide or disguise your browsing activity and information, making it unreadable to hackers. Using one is particularly important when using public Wi-Fi.
Don’t ignore software updates
When a bug or security issue is discovered in websites or apps, the developers will fix the issue and then roll it out to users via a software update. It’s vital that you accept updates as soon as possible because hackers often take advantage of these known security flaws in the knowledge that lots of people are sluggish when it comes to installing updates.