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Must-Do’s to Keep Your Online Identity Secure

Securing your identity online is not an easy task these days. No matter how strong you think your anti-virus or anti-malware software is, hackers can find a flaw that lets them access sensitive data, which you do not want others to access. How then, can you ensure online privacy and security? There is no easy answer, nor a single solution for that. Online communications security can be ensured by taking care of different security aspects. Here are 9 essential ones that can help in keeping your online identity secure.

Strengthen your passwords

This is a point that security experts have been emphasizing for a long time now. A secure password is perhaps the biggest weapon to prevent unauthorized access to your accounts. The stronger your password, the tougher it will be for the hacker to break it. As you may already know, the strongest passwords are a combination of alphabets, numbers and special characters. Usage of common names, dates, phone numbers etc as the password should be avoided.

Some of the ways to create a strong password is to misspell words in a way that you remember them, add spaces between two words, create a phrase with 3 or 4 small words etc. Also, avoid using the same password for multiple accounts.

Choose tougher security questions

Most email service providers, social security sites etc ask you to create security questions for retrieving your login details, in case you forget them. While some sites have a preset list of security questions, some allow you to create your own. In such a case, ensure that these questions are unique, and the answer is known only to you.

Stick to ‘https’

One of the common mistakes that people do is choose the ‘https’ option only for online banking or retail sites where monetary transactions take place. But to secure your online identity online,it is essential to use the secure ‘https’ option for all the sites that you access, be it for mail services, social networking or just gaming.

Avoid linking multiple accounts

Linking your Facebook account to your other accounts on Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace etc can be a very convenient option, as the status you add in one is automatically updated on the rest. However, there is a flaw attached to this feature. If one of your accounts is compromised, the rest would also be under threat from cyber criminals. This could make your data on different sites vulnerable and also increase the risks of identity theft. To avoid all that, it is best not to link your accounts.

Login notifications

Most email and social networking sites have the login notification feature wherein an email is fired as soon as your account is accessed from an unknown or new IP address. Make sure that this feature is turned on for all your accounts, so that you know when there is a breach of security. This option is available in Facebook and also Gmail, where in any kind of attempt for unauthorized login will be notified to you immediately. Also, adjust your browser settings to stop cookies/tracking online when you access your accounts.

Don’t make your email id or phone number public

Among the details that you most often share with others are your phone number and email id. While it is necessary to provide them for communication, using just one email and phone number for every thing is not a good idea. For instance, keep a separate email id for all important relationships like your banker, tax consultant, social security, doctor, solicitor and create a generic email id that can be given in feedback forms, reviews etc. The same way, avoid sharing your phone number online, unless it is really needed.

Keep in mind that these are just a few tips that can help you secure your online identity, but do not in anyway guarantee 100% privacy.

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