These days, it seems like we are constantly hearing about identity theft and security breaches. According to an Identity Fraud Study conducted by the Javelin Strategy & Research, $16 billion was stolen from 12.7 million U.S. customers last year. In the previous year, $18 billion was stolen from 13.1 million victims of identity theft. Further, the study also found that there was a new victim of identity fraud every two seconds in 2014.
However, on the positive note, new account frauds saw a decline last year. When thieves open new credit cards using your stolen details, it could take up to year before you even realize that damage has been done to your credit report. Fixing these issues can turn into a nightmare that can last many years. So protecting your privacy is paramount and should not be taken lightly.
With the introduction of smartphones and tablets, we are all checking out our bank accounts, saving credit card details, and making purchases using these devices. So if you’re on the go, it’s always tempting to log into free open Wi-Fi networks in public places. However, this is a really bad idea as these networks are not equipped to keep your information secure.
The Today show recently demonstrated how easy it is for any hacker to intercept data on an open network and steal your credit card and bank details (including passwords). So what can you do to keep your sensitive data safe?
Following these simple tips below will help to keep cybercriminals at bay.
1. Use a Secure Wi-Fi (at all times)Before you connect to any wireless network, conduct a little investigation. The best security/protection available for wireless networks is known as WPA/WPA2. As a rule, do not ever use Open or WEP networks. This will ensure that you are not simply giving your information away to potential cybercriminals.
Whenever possible, only connect to the Wi-Fi network via a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to ensure that your connection is encrypted.
2. Don’t Pay for Hotspots
3. Ensure that your Security Software is Up to DateIf you haven’t updated your antivirus software in a while, do it immediately! By making sure that your antivirus software is up to date can keep your computers and devices secure. Further, it’s always a good idea to do some research and get the best antivirus software on the market.
4. Enable Web Filtering to Block Malicious CodeMake sure to enable web filtering to block malicious code on all your devices. Further, always use HTTPS or SSL when visiting a website with important information like banking sites or email. As information is transmitted in real-time, it can take just a second on a felonious wireless network for your identity to be stolen.
5. Turn off Automatic Connections to Wi-Fi Hotspots
These days we have a lot more than our laptops. Now we have our smartphones, tablets, and smart wearables. No matter what you are using, always regularly check and make sure that your laptop and other mobile devices have their automatic connectivity to Wi-Fi hotspots turned off.
In 2013, the top ten states for cybercrime were as follows:
Regardless of where you live, following these simple steps can keep you safe from identity theft. Although we may never achieve impenetrable security, following these steps can make it significantly difficult for anyone waiting to commit internet fraud.
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