Have you thought about how many online accounts you actually have? If you sit down and really think about it, you will be properly shocked.
Most have up to 20 online accounts!
Now, you’re tapping your chin, and wondering how that is possible. You’re only thinking about your social media accounts, but nowadays everything is online. Your personal details are spread across all myriads of platforms.
Think about where you do your online shopping – that alone could be up to 6 different platforms, from Takealot to Pick ‘n Pay, from Woolworths to Amazon.
What about banking platforms? Most may only have one. But, where is your bond registered? It may be a different bank to your everyday account. And, that investment you took out recently to save towards a holiday in Spain, where is that?
Competition sites are the rave too, and you may think that you are just popping your details in to win, but a few of them are asking you to actually register with them. This means you have an online account with them too. And, your private info is spread even further across the world wide web.
Why are we so concerned about where you have online accounts?
Because, you are leaving yourself open to potential hackers, and if you value your identity, then be more aware of all these online accounts you are opening.
So, how can you protect yourself and ensure your online accounts are safe?
- Make a list of all your online accounts
Once you have them all listed, ring those that you never use, and close them down. Because you hardly ever or never go into these accounts, there is more chance of them getting hacked. And, more chance of the hacker obtaining your private information. In addition, because you don’t use it often, you possibly haven’t changed the password on a regular basis. That also gives the hacker ammo to getting in.
- Download a secret password manager
Yes, this is another online account, but one that is more secure, purely because of the nature of what it does. Online password management systems generate obscure passwords for you and store them safely. Applications to try are 1Password, @Keeper, and Zoho, to name but a few.
- Check your account activity regularly
Most applications will tell you when you last logged in, especially banking apps. If you see strange activity on your online account, then immediately change your password, and notify the account manager.
- Don’t log into new online accounts with social media accounts
It is tempting, as then it makes the registration process so simple and quick. But, you open yourself up to a whole new set of risks. Letting other services and apps connect to your social media platforms is also not a great idea. However, if you do, keep it to a minimum.
- Connect only with trusted contacts
It seems an obvious one, but you would be surprised at how many people connect with strangers. Best way, and Facebook is great for this, is to see how many mutual friends you have. Generally, if you don’t know the person personally, you shouldn’t be connecting with them.
This becomes a little bit more difficult when it comes to LinkedIn, and other business platforms. As it is a professional, business-related portal, we are more open to connecting. The person may be a possible business contact, and could lead to new business and sales. That may be so, but rather go check them out on other social platforms, to see if they are who they say they are. These business platforms allow you to see where they work, and if they don’t have any company name listed, or history, then rather keep away.