Being as we’re well into spring, the impulse to clean things up and air things out has become stronger. While you’re already in a tidying mood, why not take some time to clean up your digital identity and strengthen your security, as well?
You don’t need to be a technological wiz to do so, either. Taking just a few simple precautions can do wonders for the cleanliness and security of your digital identity.
Here are 5 things you can do:
1. Tidy-Up Passwords
So much of what you have to do online requires a password. Some accounts may require you to update said passwords periodically. But more often than not, that same old password will continue to suffice for years….until a hacker cracks it.
For old accounts that still have simple four or five-character passwords, you should change things up. To maximize your online security these days, long and unique passwords are your best bet. A mix of capital and lower-case letters, numbers and special characters is the standard. And the password you use for each site should be different.
Concerned about forgetting so many different complex passwords? Writing them down is not secure. Instead, consider storing and organizing them in a password manager, such as LastPass or 1Password. Such managers will keep your passwords safe and organized in one spot. And they can auto-fill login info as requested, so you don’t have to do so manually each time.
2. Get Rid of Old Social Media Profiles
If you’ve been online long enough, you may have accumulated multiple social media profiles. If you still use all of them, great. But it’s more likely that you have one or two old profiles–on mostly defunct social media platforms–that you haven’t even looked at for months or years.
It’s time to let go of your past. All these old profiles do for you is clutter up your digital identity and leave you open to identity theft. Go to the platform, find your old profile and delete it. If it’s really old, it may take an extra step or two to login and claim your profile to begin with. But it’ll be worth it for the peace of mind you get, knowing you’ve removed that vulnerability.
3. Delete Other Online Accounts
Over the years, you’ve no doubt done your share of online shopping. Some of the sites are ones you continue to use regularly. But then there are other sites that you only purchased from once, long ago. Unless you anticipate shopping there again, it’s time to delete these one-off accounts.
You don’t need your contact or payment info floating out there for someone to potentially grab. Even if such info is no longer current, a resourceful hacker can still possibly use it for illicit means.
The challenge here, of course, is remembering these one-time purchases. If you can’t recall the names of the sites offhand, go through old email communications to see if you can find old orders or shipping info.
4. Take Time to Unsubscribe
Spam email is, at the very least, annoying. But being on such mailing lists also means that your email address could be added to other mailing lists that are dangerous as well as annoying. Many phishers pull from existing mailing lists to enact their scams.
Sure, you can just continue to delete these unwanted emails, or have them routed to your Junk folder. But why not just stop them from coming in the first place?
By law, marketing emails require giving recipients the option to unsubscribe. (Usually in very small print, at the bottom of the email.) It may take a few days for the “Unsubscribe” to fully take effect. But hopefully you will notice fewer and fewer unwanted emails over time. And the added benefit of taking your email address out of circulation means fewer opportunities for scammers to reach out.
5. Search for Yourself
Finally, just check and see what information is showing about you online. Perform a search on yourself, either via a general search engine or on a public records site. If you see anything troublesome or untruthful, you can then go to the source to clean things up.
For more tips and other information about how to protect your digital identity, read more on the PeopleFinders blog.
Image attribution: Yuganov Konstantin – www.shutterstock.com