Tips for Conducting a Personal Online Security Audit to Protect Yourself from Threats This Year

Tips for Conducting a Personal Online Security Audit to Protect Yourself from Threats This Year

What can you do to protect your personal data in 2019?

Billions of consumers worldwide were impacted by security breaches in 2018, with hackers stealing everything from credit card numbers and passport numbers to social security numbers and home addresses. One of the most recent breaches, the Marriott hotel chain breach in November, exposed 500 million people’s information. In this attack, nearly 6.5 percent of the world’s population had their names, phone numbers, email addresses, passport numbers or credit card details exposed.

And if last year was any indicator, 2019 won’t be any safer. Unfortunately, many Americans are confused regarding data breaches. In fact, a recent survey by my firm Lexington Law found that a majority of Americans (56 percent) have never checked if they’ve been affected by a data breach. In addition, only 20 percent of respondents checked for a breach within the last month and 66 percent don’t know what to check if a breach occurs.

So with all this uncertainty, what can you do to protect your personal data in 2019? I recommend conducting a simple personal online security audit, which will help you avoid becoming a victim of cybercrime, including identity theft and identity fraud. Here are three ways you can kick it off: 

Review Your Passwords

This may sound like a no-brainer, but many people use the same passwords for multiple accounts, which automatically puts them at a higher risk to be hacked. Review your passwords to see how many you use on a regular basis, what you use to keep track of passwords and how long it has been since you changed them. Also, avoid using identifying information such as your birthday, age, the current year or address for passwords. Once you’ve had the chance to dig deeper into your arsenal of passwords, I’d recommend changing them and using a reliable password manager to help keep track of logins for the hundreds of accounts that many people have. 

Take a Look at Your Social Media Accounts

While social media may seem safe enough, unfortunately people unknowingly can give the public a lot of information through social media. Confirm all of the social media platforms that you use and how many social media accounts are yours on each platform. It’s also very important to review social media platforms that you haven’t used in a while or that are outdated to see if any fake accounts exist with your name or face. In addition, review your previous posts for sensitive information such as locations that you’ve tagged to posts and the types of photos you’ve posted recently. Last but not least, double-check your privacy settings for each social media platform. Many social media accounts have the option to limit the people who see your posts to your confirmed friends, which can keep your information more secure.

Check Your Credit Report for Signs of Identity Theft

One of the most unfortunate repercussions of identity theft is how it can damage someone’s credit report. People need good credit to do everything from purchases homes and cars to opening credit card accounts and securing jobs. If someone is a victim of identity theft, their credit score is at risk of plummeting through no fault of their own. To help avoid this issue, regularly check your credit report for signs of inaccuracies or potential fraud and report anything as soon as you see it. Also, for additional peace of mind consider identity theft protection tools such as Lexington Law’s recently upgraded Lex OnTrack, the only product on the market to combine identity protection and credit repair.

Make Sure Your Computer’s Software and Mobile Apps are Up to Date

It’s easy to forget to update your computer’s software and your mobile apps regularly, especially if it requires you to restart your computer or phone. While updating these things can be an inconvenience, the longer you hold off on doing it, the more you’re potentially putting yourself at risk to be hacked. Many software and app updates include enhanced security features and help everything run smoother. After ensuring that all of your apps and software are up to date, check to see if the updates are installed manually or automatically. If you’re the type of person that forgets to manually update, changing the settings to automatic updates could be helpful.

Conducting a personal online security audit does take time, but will give you peace of mind that your sensitive personal information is safe from hackers. I’d recommend conducting an audit like this a couple of times a year, because one small slip up could result in credit corruption, data exposure, a stolen identity or more. By being vigilant you can make sure that your data stays yours alone.

Featured

  • Maximizing Your Security Budget This Year

    7 Ways You Can Secure a High-Traffic Commercial Security Gate  

    Your commercial security gate is one of your most powerful tools to keep thieves off your property. Without a security gate, your commercial perimeter security plan is all for nothing. Read Now

  • Survey: Only 13 Percent of Research Institutions Are Prepared for AI

    A new survey commissioned by SHI International and Dell Technologies underscores the transformative potential of artificial intelligence (AI) while exposing significant gaps in preparedness at many research institutions. Read Now

  • Survey: 70 Percent of Organizations Have Established Dedicated SaaS Security Teams

    Seventy percent of organizations have prioritized investment in SaaS security, establishing dedicated SaaS security teams, despite economic uncertainty and workforce reductions. This was a key finding in the fourth Annual SaaS Security Survey Report: 2025 CISO Plans and Priorities released today by the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA), the world’s leading organization dedicated to defining standards, certifications, and best practices to help ensure a secure cloud computing environment. Read Now

  • Mobile Applications Are Empowering Security Personnel

    From real-time surveillance and access control management to remote monitoring and communications, a new generation of mobile applications is empowering security personnel to protect people and places. Mobile applications for physical security systems are emerging as indispensable tools to enhance safety. They also offer many features that are reshaping how modern security professionals approach their work. Read Now

Featured Cybersecurity

Webinars

New Products

  • Mobile Safe Shield

    Mobile Safe Shield

    SafeWood Designs, Inc., a manufacturer of patented bullet resistant products, is excited to announce the launch of the Mobile Safe Shield. The Mobile Safe Shield is a moveable bullet resistant shield that provides protection in the event of an assailant and supplies cover in the event of an active shooter. With a heavy-duty steel frame, quality castor wheels, and bullet resistant core, the Mobile Safe Shield is a perfect addition to any guard station, security desks, courthouses, police stations, schools, office spaces and more. The Mobile Safe Shield is incredibly customizable. Bullet resistant materials are available in UL 752 Levels 1 through 8 and include glass, white board, tack board, veneer, and plastic laminate. Flexibility in bullet resistant materials allows for the Mobile Safe Shield to blend more with current interior décor for a seamless design aesthetic. Optional custom paint colors are also available for the steel frame. 3

  • ResponderLink

    ResponderLink

    Shooter Detection Systems (SDS), an Alarm.com company and a global leader in gunshot detection solutions, has introduced ResponderLink, a groundbreaking new 911 notification service for gunshot events. ResponderLink completes the circle from detection to 911 notification to first responder awareness, giving law enforcement enhanced situational intelligence they urgently need to save lives. Integrating SDS’s proven gunshot detection system with Noonlight’s SendPolice platform, ResponderLink is the first solution to automatically deliver real-time gunshot detection data to 911 call centers and first responders. When shots are detected, the 911 dispatching center, also known as the Public Safety Answering Point or PSAP, is contacted based on the gunfire location, enabling faster initiation of life-saving emergency protocols. 3

  • EasyGate SPT and SPD

    EasyGate SPT SPD

    Security solutions do not have to be ordinary, let alone unattractive. Having renewed their best-selling speed gates, Cominfo has once again demonstrated their Art of Security philosophy in practice — and confirmed their position as an industry-leading manufacturers of premium speed gates and turnstiles. 3