Protecting Your Online Accounts
Technology now makes it easy to access your information anywhere you go on a multitude of devices. Your credit cards are synced on your phone. Your bank account can be accessed through a small tablet or hand-held device. Everything is synced up and at your fingertips in a way that is both convenient and dangerous. Instead of a cyber-thief needing to access multiple accounts to have your information, they now only need to access one account. But there are ways to make yourself safe even, as you enjoy the new benefits of being linked at the touch of a button.
One thing you can do for every single device you have is choose a different log in and password. You can allow each device to remember only your user ID, but do not allow the device to store your password. If you were to lose that device, or it gets stolen, you will want your accounts to be protected. Also, lock all devices with a secure password to the device itself. If it falls in the wrong hands you’ll know it’s protected. Do not access your account on untrusted networks. Thieves can pull information from these networks to access your accounts, and this includes seeing your passwords. Set up your devices and accounts so that each time any changes are made to your accounts you’ll be notified. If this includes sending an encrypted text message to your phone, then do that. This will let you know if anyone is trying to access your accounts. Securing your accounts through the deices themselves is your first step in protecting yourself from cyber thieves.
Next you’ll want to know that you’re protected once you’re online. The government and credit card companies have been working on this aspect of protection for years. The Web Service Security or WSS, was formed as an Web security standard. The way it works is that organizations that handle cardholder information (such as credit cards, prepaid cards, debit cards, and ATM cards) must live up the standards of protection. These were designed to reduce credit card fraud. This can include requiring entering captcha codes to ensure a human is accessing the account and not a remotely controlled computer. Or it may require you to have back-up security questions on your account. If the deice you use to access accounts is lost or in the hands of a thief, this is the next wall of defense for your identity.
You can manage these accounts on your own, or you can hire someone to keep track of them. The happy medium to both would be to install software that can keep track of how your devises and accounts are accessed and alert you to suspicious activity. The cost of the software is generally inexpensive, especially for the peace of mind you get with knowing you’re protected.
While technology makes things easier, it also makes us more vulnerable. Cyber thieves are smart and know how to hack into your accounts. You have to be smarter and protect yourself on every level from them.