It’s not your imagination; 2019 was a brutal year for data security. Data breaches increased in both frequency and size with hacks at Facebook, Twitter, and even the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency grabbing headlines.
Since it’s time to unwrap those calendars for 2020, IDShield has a suggestion on how you could avoid hassles of identity theft and financial fraud with a simple, 10-minute security makeover. It’s the New Year’s resolution you should dive right into because 10 minutes spent today could save you headaches in the coming year.
Where to Begin
Start at the spot where most of your essential data lives – your cell phone. Is that device adequately protected? By adequate, we mean is your password more than 12345, or your dog’s name? Have you activated biometrics like fingerprint or facial recognition ID options if your phone offers them? If NO is your answer, add a password today and master those fingerprint settings. Otherwise, your data is ripe for abuse. A cleaning person, nosy neighbor or even a police officer could browse your files.
If you answered YES to our first security question, consider increasing the number of digits in that password to eight or more, and make one a unique character like % while you’re at it. Hackers have automated the process of password cracking so well that calculating your four-digit PIN often takes mere seconds.
Longer equals stronger when it comes to passwords. Just Google “password strength meter” and double-check your favorite phrase using one.
Stop Encouraging Credential Stuffers
Pledge to stop unwittingly aiding credential stuffers. Stuffing is an automated hacker tactic that attempts to access thousands of online accounts by trying thousands of stolen or leaked credential pairs (username and password). Targets include any website where there’s the chance to grab cash or access financial accounts.
Why is this approach so successful? Too many individuals reuse the same passwords on multiple sites. If hackers gleaned your credential pair in Twitter’s data breach, for example, they’d attempt to open your online bank account. Don’t recycle these codes. Also, compare any new passwords you select to a website like haveibeenpwned.com, a repository of stolen passwords that have been made public. Even a highly sophisticated password is no security at all if it debuts on hacker forums lurking on the dark web.
If you’re like most people, you probably do a lot of shopping online. Jot down all the websites that offer to store your credit card data while you select your items. Sure, that option makes ordering faster, but that choice could compromise credit card details in a breach. Say no and thank us later. Keep this site list handy and change those preferences every time you open one of your regular supplier websites.
What Do You Keep in Your Wallet?
How are we doing on time? Well, you’ve spent eight minutes so far to fortify your data storage, and we did promise to take up no more than ten on this resolution. Grab your wallet and inventory what’s inside. A lost or stolen wallet equals a massive headache. Resolve to include only one or two credit cards, leave that Social Security card in safe storage at home and use your phone’s camera to store images of other personally identifiable info such as membership cards.
Finally, do you utilize IDShield’s Lost Wallet feature? We can help cancel those cards if your wallet’s lost or stolen. IDShield also monitors details such as health insurance numbers circulated on the Dark Web.
Time’s up! You’ve just taken some significant steps toward locking down your data, and there’s still time to raise a glass to 2020’s arrival. And remember, IDShield is always ready to help if your info is compromised.
IDShield is a product of Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. d/b/a LegalShield (“LegalShield”). LegalShield provides access to identity theft protection and restoration services. For complete terms, coverage and conditions, please see an identity theft plan. All Licensed Private Investigators are licensed in the state of Oklahoma. This is meant to provide general information and is not intended to provide legal advice, render an opinion, or provide any specific recommendations.