Our lives are becoming increasingly connected through the power of the internet and countless digital services. From your banking, to your preferred digital investment platform, your online life is likely tied closely to your finances.
Recent data breaches are timely reminders that online security is critical. Even if you only use online accounts for small financial transactions, taking appropriate steps can protect you from financially crippling losses, fraud, and outright identity theft.
Recent Data Breach Some of the Largest in History
Online knowledge website Quora announced yesterday that it was victim of a data breach that compromised 100 million user records. Compromised information included personal details like names, passwords, email addresses, public content, and direct messages.
Quora took steps to lock accounts, however, malicious parties likely already stored private information.
Another high-profile data breach was made public last week. Marriot Hotels told customers that a hack exposed more than 500 million records. Names, email and physical addresses, and passport numbers were compromised.
Stolen data can be used to access financial services. Stolen passport information and other details could lead to identity theft and fraudulent financial transactions.
Whether you’re thinking about your immediate finances, or even your retirement, protecting your online identity is paramount.
Password Tips to Stay Safe When Sharing Your Information Online
No matter how secure a system is, there is a constant threat of data theft and data breach. According to Symantec, a leading internet security company, malware activity increased by 3.8% in October. Financial trojan activity (programs designed to steal financial and personal information) increased by 15.8%.
To minimize risk across all your online accounts, always follow industry-best practices.
- Don’t re-use passwords, no matter how low you perceive the risk. If a compromised password on one site is also used for your banking, stock accounts etc., then a third party could potentially gain access to your investments and finances.
- Enable two-factor identification if possible. This combines the protection of a password with another security step, such as an authorization email, text message, or smartphone notification.
- Use passphrases that are at least 14 characters in length and that include a combination of numbers, capitalized letters, and special characters. Passphrases should be unique and difficult to guess. Phrases are much harder to be cracked by algorithms when compared to standard passwords.
- Use a different email address for important financial sites and ecommerce sites like Amazon. Keep your social media and other sites isolated from your most important data.
Simple password practices will help to protect you from online threats. Even if one login becomes compromised, you’ll have confidence knowing that your other online accounts are secure.
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