Are your Online Accounts Secure?
More and more people are using the internet for lots of stuff beyond email. It has become the biggest connector to lots of important, personal and even confidential content.
I’m a little unique when it comes to social media. I have accounts on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, Vine, WordPress, SnapChat, WeChat and a few others that most people don’t know about.
I also have three or four bank accounts, one or two investment accounts, a few Website accounts, Itunes, Google Play, NetFlix, Amazon.com, Craigslist, YouTube, UPS, FedEx, Microsoft, Evernote, Hootsuite, CBS, ABC, NBC, Fox, and on, and on, and on.
My point is this. Each of these online accounts require a username and password. If you don’t manage the security on these accounts you are creating risk, maybe a serious risk. You are responsible for managing the risk of your online accounts. However, you can manage this risk, if you are willing to do just a few extra steps.
Here are 5 easy to do steps that can reduce risk and answer this question correctly;
Are your Online Accounts Safe?
Tip 1 – Use Unique Passwords with Online Accounts
This is by far the biggest failure people make with their online accounts. Their justification is, “it’s so hard keeping track of all of the passwords.” I refuse to accept this as an appropriate reason. Figure out how to manage unique passwords. I’d rather hear that you keep a paper list or a spreadsheet list (password protected) than not use unique passwords. A better way to manage these unique passwords is to use a tool like LastPass. It’s an online password management tool. I use it and love it. Read the instructions so you can use LastPass best practices. However you decide to manage unique passwords, this is the most powerful way keep your Online Accounts Secure.
Tip 2 – Use two email accounts
This step requires that you have two personal email accounts. My recommendation is to use one email account for all of your social media sites and another for all of your finance sites. These accounts are generally free and easy to setup. Whether you use Gmail.com, Outlook.com, Yahoo.com or any of the thousands of other public domain email accounts, using a different account for your finance accounts can reduce the risk. This is a good way to keep your Online Accounts Secure.
Bonus tip – do not use a business email account for any online account. You do not control your business accounts, unless it’s your business.
Tip 3 – Implement Login Verification
Many online systems have Login Verification or Two Level Verification systems to help keep your online accounts secure. These systems usually connect to your cell phone via SMS (text message). Generally the way they work is that each time your account is accessed by a new computer, mobile device and/or browser, the system will send a verification code to your cell phone. As long as your cellphone is always with you and/or has a security code on it, no one can login to your account without you knowing it and approving it. I love using Login Verificaiton to keep my Online Accounts Secure.
Tip 4 – Secure your devices
I have an iPad, Samsung SmartPhone and MacBook Pro. I do three things to secure my devices
- No one uses my devices unless I am present.
- I have unique security codes or passwords on my devices.
- I know where my devices are 24x7x365. (Fortunately I have no kids at home.)
These devices are always connected to my social sites. My Finance sites are not automatically signed into.
My devices would be a potential risk to my Online Accounts, except I secure all of my devices.
Tip 5 – If you are not using it, cancel it.
I can only imagine the number of online accounts that are dormant. A dormant online account can be a potential risk. Keep track of the online accounts you create and when you decide the travel site, free coupon site, cheap hotel site, etc, etc are no longer needed, close the account. Hackers are generally smart people. They will try your username/email address and passwords on lots of different sites. Close accounts no longer in use to help keep your Online Accounts Secure.
Tip 6 – Pay Attention
Risk can only be reduced, it’s unlikely we can eliminate risk of being hacked. This is why you need to Pay attention to your online accounts.
Hackers rely on us to not pay attention to help them.
- Pay attention to the URL of the page you are logging into.
- Pay attention to email messages you get about your online accounts.
- Pay attention to website prompts to login to your accounts.
- Pay attention (monitor) your accounts.
Paying attention is a good way to keep your Online Accounts Secure.
Tip 7 – Logout of your accounts on public devices
You will from time to time need to use someone else’s computer for your online accounts.
- Pay attention the website URL you are using to access your account.
- Don’t let the computer “Remember” your password.
- Do not walk away from the device you are using, unless you logout from your account first.
- Always logout of your online account when you are done. Do not just close the browser.
- To be a little more secure consider clearing the browser history.
Be very careful using public computers with your online account. This is a big risk of keeping your
Online Accounts Secure.
Notice, in these 7 tips I never mentioned, “Don’t share your passwords or logins with anyone.” I think of this as just one of the most basic of common sense security tips.
Your online accounts are vital to your social lives, businesses and personal lives. These tools can be very useful if you always focus on keeping your Online Accounts Secure.
Don’t fear online accounts, manage them by managing your passwords, accounts and devices.