5 ways to protect your digital life
By Yaron Dror, VP of Product and co-founder at IronVest
With data breaches on the rise, the concerning trend of fraudsters targeting individuals, and the devastating impact of identity theft and consumer fraud, securing consumer personal data and accounts are more important than ever. Protecting one’s personal data goes hand in hand with protecting their online security because so much of our data is also used to authenticate us online. Although there are seemingly many tools to help consumers protect their data and privacy, it’s often hard to know which to choose and how to seamlessly and habitually integrate tools and techniques into our everyday digital life. With that in mind, below are 5 ways to keep your digital life private and secure:
Use a biometric password manager
Most password managers do a fine job of helping you create, store and autofill passwords for all of your online accounts. Though this is much better than creating your own easy to remember password and re-using it across sites, password managers do not do enough to protect your accounts since they rely on a master password to access all of your logins. If that password is breached, the rest of your account logins are exposed. Opt for a more secure password manager that uses biometrics to authenticate you when accessing any account, not just the password manager itself. Also remember that not all biometrics are created equally and the best way to ensure your biometrics stay private is to use a service that uses privacy-preserving decentralized biometrics, ensuring there is no central storage of user biometrics to steal, or a single point of failure for a hacker to exploit.
Use biometric two-factor authentication
Whenever possible, use two-factor authentication (2FA) to protect your online accounts. 2FA adds an extra layer of security by requiring you to enter both a password and a code that is sent to your mobile device in order to login. This makes it much more difficult for hackers to gain access to your accounts even if they have your password. However with scams like SIM Swap on the rise, where hackers hijack your phone number and intercept those 2FA passcodes in order to reset the password on your accounts, you need to also think about protecting your 2FA codes. There is nothing more secure than using a tool that uses biometric authentication to ensure only you receive the 2FA codes, and not a bad actor.
Be careful what you click on
One of the easiest ways for hackers to gain access to your digital life is by tricking you into clicking on a malicious link. Be careful what you click on, even if it comes from a trusted source. If you are unsure about a link, hover over it with your mouse to see where it will take you before clicking on it. If possible use a lightweight phishing detection tool to help you identify phishing emails before you click.
Use a VPN and keep your operating system and browser up-to-date
A VPN, or virtual private network, is a tool that can help to keep your online activity private and secure. A VPN encrypts all of the data that you send and receive while using the internet, making it difficult for anyone to eavesdrop on your activities. Additionally, a VPN can also help to hide your real IP address, making it more difficult for companies to track your online activity. In addition to using a VPN to keep your digital life safe and secure, make sure your software is always up-to-date. Hackers often exploit vulnerabilities in outdated software in order to gain access to people’s devices and data. By ensuring that all of your software is up-to-date, you can help to protect yourself against these types of attacks.
Use masking to keep your personal information private
Since most account access and payment authentication is based on personal information, it is critical to keep your personal information private and reduce your digital footprint to reduce the likelihood of your data ending up in a fraudster’s hands after a data breach. The best way to ensure it’s easy to do this consistently and effortlessly, look for a tool that provides masked email addresses, phone numbers, and credit cards which can be generated and autofilled right from the browser on any site. Masking emails and phone numbers are a great way to hide your real identity from sites and services when you sign up ensuring your personal information isn’t there in the event of a data breach. Masked credit cards reduce the risk of credit card fraud which can have a negative impact on your credit and your financials, by masking your real credit card with a single-use virtual credit card.