Identity theft is a common kind of cyber scam which leads to a loss of personal data. This personal data may include usernames, passwords, credit card details, bank account numbers, social security numbers, etc. This information is then used to commit other crimes and scams. Every year, identities of approximately 9 million people in USA get stolen. Data breaches and attacks which happen on businesses, government institutions, financial institutions, and organizations cause chaos by leaking numerous user and client data. While sometimes the issue of identity theft can be swiftly resolved, oftentimes it costs up to thousands of dollars and months to resolve the issue of identity theft.
Ways to prevent online identity theft
- Have a robust and updated security software on your devices
Online identity thefts are often a result of phishing, or malware attacks which happen due to a vulnerable system, lax firewall, insecure wireless network, etc. Not having a security software on your computer and phone is equivalent to inviting unwanted criminals at your house. To prevent your computer or other devices from getting infected, you must install a good antivirus program.
- Understand how to identify spam and scams
Phishing scams are usually easy to identify. However some phishing emails, websites, and messages are very well-crafted and it becomes hard to figure out if they are spoof or genuine. One way to stop yourself from becoming a victim to a phishing attack is to research about the website download before clicking on the link provided in the email. For instance, if the email claims to be from a recruiting company, instead of clicking on the link, use a search engine to find the website and then determine if it is legitimate or not.
- Keep strong passwords
Weak passwords are incredibly easy to guess. Do not keep the default factory password for your router. There are websites which provide a list of default factory passwords for various routers. Use different passwords for different accounts. Even if a hacker or a cyber criminal figures out one of your password, he will be able to hack into all of your other accounts. Use long passwords which have more than ten characters. A strong password is long, has uppercase and lowercase letters, special characters, and numbers. Do not save your username and password details on your browser. It is also important to regularly change your password.
- Encrypt sensitive data
Encrypt all of your sensitive personal data when you are storing it in your external storage device or hard disc. Data encryption is a good practice to follow to ensure data security. Data encryption is the process of protecting data with the help of a secret code. Only the people who have the code key will be able to read it. If your data is encrypted then even if a hacker gets access to your computer and data, he will be unable to read it.
- Use secure connections
Internet is known for its convenience. People love to sign up for new accounts, play contests, shop online, book tickets, etc. Each time you use an internet service, you reveal your personal information like email address, bank details, credit card number, etc. While using online services, safeguard your personal information by using secure connections.
- Regularly update the operating system and software
Security programs and operating systems have bugs and they also may have security holes. Hackers exploit the security holes and weaknesses and target vulnerable computers. In order to fix these issues, software updates are provided. Thus regularly updating the operating system and software on your devices ensure the security of your system and data.
McAfee antivirus is a one stop security solution for home and business computers and devices. McAfee’s new identity theft protection program prevents cybercrimes and protects victims of cyber identity theft. This new feature has online scanners which alert people when their personal data gets sold. For more information, visit McAfee website mcafee.com/activate.