The Internet is an amazing tool and a resource that can provide you with access to all sorts of things, but increasingly, it has become a place of commerce and a method for conducting personal business. Just about everyone is familiar now with things such as online banking, bill paying, and even stock trading. You could easily have well over a hundred different accounts on various websites across the Internet, each one with a password tied to your account. Some of those accounts might even contain sensitive information, like your home address or your credit card number. With that in mind, it can be scary thinking about all the ways in which your information could be compromised. After all, identity theft is on the rise, and it seems to be in the news more frequently. Keeping your identity protected online isn’t too hard, though, as long as you keep a few simple things in mind.
Use a Variety of Passwords Across the Web
Never use the same password twice, no matter how tempting it is to make it easier to remember. Use a password keeper utility that is secure if you have trouble remembering your passwords. By using a different passkey on every website that you register, you limit the amount of damage that a security breach on a site can do. Instead of risking having your general use password exposed to hackers who break into a database, all they will be able to gain access to is the account on that website. Chances are, that’s not even what they’re after. Practicing good personal security like this will guarantee the sanctity of your information across the web.
Never Reveal Personal Information to Strangers Online
Remember what your parents used to tell you about talking to strangers on the Internet? While it’s certainly not the same as it used to be, you should still avoid revealing too much about yourself online to people whom you don’t know. This is because they may be able to use that small bit of information to find out much more about your life, up to and including your home address! This can be a huge hazard, and so as a precaution you should be vigilant to keep your real life separate from your online life. You may even consider creating a false persona to use to safeguard yourself.
Don’t Transmit Secure Information On Insecure Connections
When using websites such as an online bank, or when you’re making purchases online, you should never do so through an insecure connection or on a website which does not feature good encryption software. If you take the risk of allowing your financial details to be transmitted across the open web, it’s possible that anyone could intercept that data and steal your identity. To prevent this from happening, always be sure to check and see if the site has a valid SSL security certificate in place, and do not use the site for transactions if it is not secure.
Be Careful Not to Fall for Phishing Attempts
There are many people out there who would love to trick you out of your password, and there are many methods with which they will try to do it. They could set up fake websites which spoof the real one, or they could send you messages posing to be site administrators asking for your password. Always be careful about where you share your information like this, and always closely examine the URLs of the websites you visit to ensure they are the real thing. Don’t be fooled. Typos and other grammatical errors are a big red flag warning that someone is trying to phish information out of you.