We browse hundreds of websites on the internet daily, without ever stopping and giving a thought about how secure we actually are, while doing so. The internet is an unsafe place, even if we do not immediately realise it.
Is all the information that you share on the internet actually in safe hands? Your email address? Your Phone number? Your Credit Card details? Are all of your social networking accounts secure, where you share information about your day-to-day activities, and have private conversations with friends and family and discuss work-related details with your colleagues?
While there are many facets to securing your digital identity, the basic safety net for your digital identity can be determined by the following questions:
How secure is your password?
While many people may take this for granted, but the world’s most common passwords, even in 2016, were: 123456, 123456789, qwerty, 12345678, 111111, 1234567890, 1234567, password, 123123, 987654321. Clearly, if you are using a password like this, or even your favorite character from Harry Potter, or your favorite movie star, you are not doing a good job at securing your digital identity.
A good strategy here is to use passwords that are a combination of alphabets in both upper & lower cases, numerics, and special symbols, and to not reuse passwords on different websites or else you end up compromising your entire digital identity instead of one website.
Where do you share your Personal Information?
If I randomly walk into you on the street, and ask you for your phone number, will you give it to me? No, you say? Then, why do it online? Sharing your personal data online is no less risky than doing it in person, in fact, it is even worse. Look at the data on spams and phishing, for crying out loud. You would think that no one would fall for those ‘Nigerian prince’ emails anymore, but as per research, phishing is still the biggest threat to lost credentials online.
In November 2017, someone actually managed to spam thousands of people by sending emails disguised convincingly as Netflix asking people to update their billing information; and a woman lost $80,000 in scam on a fake police phishing website.
The moral of the story is, DON’T SHARE YOUR DATA WITH WEBSITES YOU DON’T TRUST.
What do you share on Social Media?
Do you like to post everything about you on Social Media like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram? Where you are travelling, which Airport you are at, which Restaurant you are eating at tonight, which school your kid goes to? Well, think before you share.
Your social media is not always as private as you might imagine, and you greatly compromise your security when you share too much information. Researchers have shown that a user’s social security number (SSN) can actually be guessed by their social media; this is true for all form of identification and other sensitive information such as credit card details etc.
Always adjust your privacy settings on Social Media to control who can see the information you share; keep it to people you actually know and trust. Keep your digital identity secure.