We all have a Digital Footprint regardless of how much you spend on-line. Even if you have never been on-line, don't have email or use social media, you still have a Digital Footprint. Yes, the more you are on-line the greater your exposure to some sort of identity theft.
Here is something to think about. Is it safer to go to a store and use your credit / debit card in person, or is it safer to shop on-line with your credit / debit card? The answer and explanation will be at the end of this article.
So how do we protect ourselves while on-line?
- Have a different password for each on-line account you have
- Use a non-dictionary password, using caps, numbers, symbols at least 12 characters
- Use a password manager to keep track of all your passwords
- Be careful of what you put on social media
- Keep all your devices OS up to date (do the updates)
- Use Internet Security software for you PC's
- Use security software for your phones and tablets
When you are banking or investing on-line it would be wise to use what is called “Two factor Authorization”. This means that after you put in your User Name and Password, you will get a text with an authorization number that you must input to gain access.
Soon finger prints, eye scans or other biometrics will be used as a login. These are getting better and more reliable, expect to see them soon in wide scale use.
Most infections or hacks come in through email or infected apps that are downloaded. Be very careful when clicking an embedded link in an email. If possible don't do this, instead go to that web site directly. For example, you may get an email from your bank that says your statements are ready, do not click the link, instead go to the bank site directly from your browser.
Now the answer from above. Generally, it's safer to shop on-line. The reason, when you put in your credit card numbers they are encrypted all the way to the credit card clearing center. When you use your card at a store you hand it to a store employee, in some cases you lose sight of that card. On-line the only human hands that your card touches are yours.
You should always use a credit card when shopping on-line, never a debit card. You have more protection with a credit card.