Protect Your Identity With These Easy Steps

1. Use unique and strong passwords for every site and securely store them in a password manager such as Bitwarden, 1Password, LastPass, or KeePass.

2. Use two-factor authentication (2FA) for any accounts that support it, especially for your email, financial accounts, and social media. Gmail, Yahoo!, Facebook, Twitter, and many other services support 2FA. You can find a whole list at Favor using an authentication app such as Google Authenticator or Authy or a hardware token such as YubiKey or Titan Security Key over SMS whenever possible. SMS is generally not recommended as a 2FA method now.


3. Protect your physical information carefully. Keep important identification and sensitive documents on your person at all times when they are not in a secure place (a locked car is not a secure place, anyone can bust open a window and grab your stuff). If you don’t have a safe deposit box you should invest in a safe (preferably a fire-resistant, RSC-rated safe, but any cheap lock box is better than nothing) to store your documents in at home, and if possible bolt it down or keep it hidden. Only take documents out for as little time as necessary. And don’t carry your social security card in your purse or wallet.

4. Shred documents containing personal information before disposing of them. Utilize a cross-cut or micro-cut shredder. Although it may not be likely that someone will dig through your trash, items in an unlocked garbage container are generally considered public property, so legally anyone could.

5. Keep your operating system up to date on your computer and mobile devices. If security updates are no longer being provided for your device, you need to upgrade immediately.


6. Install anti-virus on your computer, check for malware, and remove any malware that is discovered. Use a well-regarded program such as Avast, Avira, Bitdefender, ESET, or F-Secure.

7. Regularly backup your computer to cloud-based or off-site storage. Popular solutions include Backblaze, iDrive, SpiderOak, and Acronis. If you also backup your mobile phone to your computer, you can kill two birds with one stone.

Author: Sage Valentine