#1. Keep everything up to date. You know those annoying popups telling you updates are available? Do you ever click out of them? Don’t. Always update at the time these appear.
#2. Two-step verification. Two-step verification or authentication should be set up for all your accounts that offer it. A unique one-time code is sent to the user’s phone or via e-mail that must be entered in the login field.
#3. Unneeded browser extensions? Review your browser extensions. Uninstall the ones you don’t use. Too many extensions can slow down your computer.
#4. Encryption. Encryption software will scramble your e-mail and other correspondence so that prying eyes can’t read them, but you and your intended correspondent can. If you must use public Wi-Fi (like at a coffee house), install a virtual private network to encrypt transactions.
#5. Lock screen protection for your mobile device. Your smartphone has lock screen protection in the form of a password to prevent a non-authorized user from gaining access. If you leave your phone lying around or lose it, you’re protected if you have a password. Otherwise you are screwed.
In the same vein, your laptop should have protection from non-authorized users. Set up a password that allows access to using the device, including after hibernation periods.
#6. Check active logins. Some accounts allow you to check active logins to see if any unauthorized users have been in your accounts, such as Twitter, Facebook and Gmail.
#7. How easy can someone impersonate you? Could anyone phone your bank or medical carrier and give the correct information to bypass security, such as your “favorite pet’s name”? Who might know this information? Well, if it’s on your Facebook page, anyone who can view it. How much of your personal information is actually online? Many accounts allow a “secondary password” Ask them.
#8. Simple but powerful layers of protection.
- Don’t have login information written down on hardcopy.
- Cover your webcam with tape (yes, cybercrooks have been known to spy on people this way).
#9. Sharing your personal life with the whole world. Set all of your social media accounts to the private settings you desire. Do you really want a potential employer to see you hurling at your late-night party? Make sure images that you post are not geo-tagged with your home address.
#10. Web tools. Check out the various toolbars that you can add to your browser to beef up security. Be selective and check ratings.
Robert Siciliano, personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen. See him knock’em dead in this identity theft prevention video.