Online Security: Proactive Practices to Protect Your Online Lifestyle

 IDShield can help you protect your online lifestyle and ensure the security of your personal information

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Don’t Share Data Just Because You’ve Been Asked!

Phishing scams, in which cybercriminals pose as legitimate people or companies to trick you into sharing sensitive information, are another common security vulnerability. Recent research found that 68% of all phishing attacks impersonate well-known brands or trusted individuals in an attempt to elicit a feeling of confidence. Luckily, there are some common red flags that can alert you to a potential phishing attempt.

We’ve all heard of the “Nigerian Prince” scam, yet this and similar emails falsely claiming to be from royalty cost Americans more than $700,000 in 2018. These scams illustrate another common phishing red flag—generic greetings such as “Dear Sir” or “Hello Friend.” Grammar or spelling mistakes should also be cause for concern. It’s always possible that some of these signs could appear in a legitimate communication, however, it’s important to err on the side of caution and contact the company directly if you harbor any doubts before clicking on any links.

  1. Overly Urgent and Personal Subject Line
    Of course, friends, family and co-workers may often send you emails with subjects that are personal in nature and convey a sense of urgency. However, if you receive communication like this from someone not in your contacts or a sender purporting to be a business entity, it’s always best to investigate further before opening the email.

  2. Check the Sender
    Checking the specifics of the sender’s email address can also help you determine whether or not an email is legitimate. To do this, right-click on your keyboard or hover your mouse over the “from” and check for things like numbers, characters or additional letters that don’t seem right.

  3. Suspicious URLs
    Phishing attempts will direct you to a URL where you can sign up for the service in question. It’s important that you review these links before you click on them and check for anything suspicious like misspelled names or extra characters.

In the digital age, an increasing amount of activity is taking place online. Whether it’s ordering a last-minute gift item from Amazon, streaming the latest Netflix release, or logging on to corporate resources from your personal computer, it’s safe to say that the Internet is playing a more prominent role in your life now than ever before. And in this environment, it’s also safe to say that the threat to your online security has never been greater.

Cybercriminals are continually looking for ways to capitalize on our digital lives, and every new innovation brings with it an array of tactics they can exploit. The following are a few common risk areas and what you can do to address them.

Online Account Takeover—Don’t Reuse Passwords!

Account takeover is an extremely common means by which cybercriminals can obtain unauthorized access to your accounts and, from there, your financial data and other sensitive information. If you’re like most people, you probably reuse passwords across multiple accounts or use easy-to-guess variations. One survey found that though 91% of respondents recognize that this practice poses security risks, 59% do so anyway.

Password reuse is a problem because data breaches are a reality of modern life. Equifax, LinkedIn, Marriott International, and Yahoo are just a few of the high-profile breaches to make headlines in recent years. However, data breaches happen multiple times every single day. The credentials exposed in these attacks are available for sale on the dark web, a shadowy part of the internet that isn’t visible to search engines and can be easily obtained by cybercriminals to utilize in other breach attempts. That’s why one of the most important things you can do to safeguard your information online is to create strong, unique passwords for every one of your accounts. As part of this, it’s also a good idea to invest in a password manager tool as it’s nearly impossible to remember the passwords for every online account.

Adopt a Proactive Security Defense

In the physical world, you would never leave your front door unlocked and allow strangers to wander through your home. It’s important that you take this same approach in the digital realm and exercise good security practices in your legitimate online interactions.

Never provide your credit card number, Social Security information or similarly sensitive data over email, text or chat. Another critical step is reading terms and conditions, privacy notices and other documents to which you are consenting prior to clicking the “I Agree” button. As mentioned above it's also a good idea to review all of your social media and web profiles and remove any sensitive information they may contain such as your birthdate, phone number and mailing address.

While our lives have certainly become increasingly digital, it is possible to reap the opportunities of the connected world without falling victim to its disadvantages. IDShield can help you protect your online lifestyle and ensure the security of your personal information today and in the digital future of tomorrow.

IDShield Protection Features Include

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  • Dark web surveillance
  • Unlimited consulting with fraud experts
  • 24/7 access for emergency support
  • Monthly credit score tracker
  • Support with credit report disputes
  • Scan your social media for unwanted images and posts
  • Watch your financial accounts for unwanted activity

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