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Learn how to – How To Protect Your Digital Identity

Learn how to – How To Protect Your Digital Identity.

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Imagine this, 4 out of 10 Americans have had their identity compromised online. Of those, 47% have lost money as a result. The convenience of online communication can be enticing until you consider the danger you face if you are not cautious. In this new technology-oriented society, it is more important than ever to protect your personal information. Here we’ll discuss a few data protection strategies to help protect your digital identity.

What Is Your Digital Identity?

Much like your driver’s license, your digital identity contains information that uniquely defines you. Your digital identity consists of information in digital form that identifies you. This data includes several details, including:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Social Security number
  • Online comments
  • Online search activity

Much of this data is accessible to the government, public sector organizations, banks, the IRS, etc. Unfortunately, this same data is available to hackers.

Valid Reasons to Share Personally Identifiable Information

While it is important to safeguard your personal information online, there are cases where you may need to provide this information. Financial institutions, insurance companies, and some healthcare organizations request this data to comply with federal regulations. Know Your Customer (KYC) is a set of standards used to verify a customer. 

This data is used to verify that you are in fact who you say you are. Why is this important? Companies need this information to help spot security risks such as anti-money laundering (AML) and terrorism. 

Data Protection Essential: Manage Your Passwords

Your password is one of the best methods for protecting your personal information. Unfortunately, many people don’t do the best job at protecting their passwords. A recent study found that 66% of participants use the same password across multiple accounts. Here are a few tips on managing your passwords.

Create Strong Passwords

What makes a strong password? A strong password can’t be easily guessed or hacked. Hackers often use software that tries various combinations of letters, numbers, and special characters to crack passwords. Following these guidelines can help protect your passwords:

  • Use at least 12 characters.
  • Use a variety of uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.
  • Make sure the password is not tied to personally identifiable information (such as your birthdate).
  • The password should be unique to each account.

Use a Password Manager

If you have trouble memorizing so many passwords, a password manager can avoid this hassle. A password manager is like a secure vault that contains your passwords. With a password manager, you’ll only need to remember a master password that unlocks the vault. In addition to passwords, a password manager can keep track of PINs, credit card numbers, and answers to security questions.

Avoid Public Wi-Fi to Ensure Data Protection

While convenient, those public Wi-Fi networks expose you to more attacks than you may realize. For that reason, avoid using public WiFi. If you do need WiFi, consider using a VPN to secure your online activities. A few tactics to exploit Wi-Fi are:

Man-in-the-Middle Attacks (MitM)

An MitM attack puts a hacker right in the middle of all your data transmission on the network. This attack is equivalent to eavesdropping. Attackers can monitor this data to snoop out your personal information.


Hackers will often locate security vulnerabilities in the operating system on your computer. Once they’ve identified a weakness, they will exploit this vulnerability to install malware on your device. The malware can then monitor all activity on your device.

Avoid Oversharing

As more people rely on social media for communication, they often end up sharing information that could leave them vulnerable. It may seem that this sort of information is harmless; however, that is just not the case. Birthday announcements, upcoming vacation plans, and much more can compromise your online identity.

Install a Security Suite

An additional layer of security you should consider is a security suite. This software is a collection of utilities that provide antivirus, firewall monitoring, and many other security features. The software is often packaged in one program that provides a single dashboard to manage its features.

Common Data Protection Threat: Phishing Scams

One of the more clever tactics hackers use involves social engineering. A hacker will masquerade as a trusted source to trick you into providing personal data. For example, they may call and pretend to be your bank. They may also contact you via email, text message, or social media. These messages look genuine, which makes them so difficult to detect. 

How to Avoid Phishing Scams

Perhaps one of the best things you can do is to be wary of anything that doesn’t seem quite right. It is rare for a company to contact you and ask you to verify personal information. Here are a few additional tips:

  • When visiting websites, look for a padlock on an unbroken key icon in your browser window. Also, verify that the website address begins with “HTTPS” rather than “HTTP.”
  • Don’t click on links or open attachments in suspicious emails.
  • Don’t click on pop-up ads.
  • Use a spam filter.

With the rise of social media and online communication, the risk for fraud is much more prevalent. Now more than ever, data protection is crucial. Following a few data protection strategies can minimize the chance of identity theft and protect your online identity.


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