In today’s digital economy, it is more important than ever to ensure you are protected online. Being a victim of identity theft includes fraudulent credit card purchases and unauthorized accounts opened under your name causes not only financial losses but emotional stress. Prevention is the best cure.
Recent Financial Breaches
- 46 million cellular service accounts in Malaysia breached (straitstimes.com)
- 145 million users personal data stolen in Equifax data breach (globalnews.ca)
- 16 million users of PayPal’s TIO Network information stolen (zdnet.com)
Financial Protection Aspects
- Personally identifiable information: your name, address, phone number, identification documents, secure questions and answers, etc
- Online activity privacy: your online and website browsing history
- Physical location privacy: your location wherever you are in the world right now
Financial Theft Costs
- Losses: $16 billion
- Victims: 15.4 million (1 in 6 people)
- Average lost: above $1,000 (RM4,000)
How to Protect Yourself
- Use strong passwords: different from your username/other sites, combine upper/lower-case + symbols + numbers, and preferably not a word in the dictionary.
- Use an encrypted password manager like LastPass which provides strong encryption and 2-factor authentication.
- Don’t use unencrypted text messages/sms/emails to send usernames or passwords.
- Set a schedule to change your password regularly.
Single Points of Failure
- Email: Use different email addresses for logging in to different sites (especially those with dubious origins…).
- Social accounts as a single login may open to you attack to all sites if your social account password gets exposed.
- Hold cellular companies, government agencies, and anyone who has access to your personal data to higher standards.
- Consider PayPal and digital currencies to safeguard your credit card information.
- Cookies: disable 3rd party cookies on your browser else it allows advertisers to trace your movement and profile you for targeted advertising.
- VPNs: use VPNs to provide an additional layer of security.
- Avoid websites which offers deals/things which are too good to be true, free downloads, and such which increases your risk of infected malware.
- Use and keep updated your anti-virus, firewall, operating system, and malware protection.