Sure, ringing in the New Year with a new fitness plan, health cleanse, or alcohol abstinence program is health-progressive — and if actually followed through with — can be extremely beneficial. But if you’re one of the few non-“born again so-called health freaks”, you’re likely in need of a New Year’s resolution. That’s where we come in.
We’re proposing an easier, likely more beneficial, resolution than that of your fellow peers. This is a plan that you can start today, right now, from the very computer, mobile device, or tablet you’re reading this blog post from.
We proclaim this 2017 New Year’s Resolution as your very own DIGITAL CLEANSE.
In SIX EASY STEPS, you’ll be on the fast track to reclaiming your digital independence, while further separating your accounts from future harm. This means protecting your bank account, your wallet, and your identity — all of which are quite important, if we don’t say so ourselves.
So, if you’re ready for your first true digital purge, let’s get this post-New Year’s party started…
1. Reset Your Passwords
To start the new year off on the right foot, we suggest resetting all of your various account passwords.
That’s right, all of them.
From your personal Gmail account to your Chase Bank login, you need to be proactive with your own personal security. Don’t just rely (and expect) other companies to have your best interests in mind; do it yourself.
Create passwords using “pass-phrases”: heavier and meatier word combinations (12+ characters) that make hacking your account that much more difficult.
2. Reset Your Security Questions
The Security Questions that you fill out during the account creation process at first seems trivial, but actually has become quite an important piece to the digital security puzzle.
During your “Password Reset Cleanse” (see Step 1 above), you’ll also want to reset all of the Security Questions associated with your accounts. If you see that no Security Question has been set, make sure to do so.
Select the Security Questions that may be more obscure and more personal to you, so that the information cannot be easily discovered. For example, it’s probably not the best idea to choose the security question “What Is Your Dog’s First Name?” when you have a litany of dog postings and photos on your Twitter page.
3. Use Separate Web Browsers
Most people don’t think of their web browser as an environment that they need to keep secure, but in reality, it’s just that.
We suggest that you download two separate browsers to your computer, whether it be Firefox / Chrome / Internet Explorer / etc. From there, choose one of the browsers to be your dedicated “security browser” where you all deal with personal information, business, account records, so-on and so-forth.
The second browser then becomes your “personal browser” where you can watch all of your favorite cat videos on Youtube, stream music online, and do your basic personal browsing.
You’ll need to constantly clear the history and data from the “security browser”, while remaining vigilant about where you roam on the internet and what links you click on, but this process should ensure that your sensitive information remains isolated and more protected.
4. Use Different Email Addresses
Similar to the previous step in using separate web browsers, it’s important to set up different email accounts for different purposes.
It’s common these days that people assign one of their email accounts as their so-called “junk account”, where the deluge of spam that stemmed from the many “free newsletters” and “coupons” is sent.
The other account is used for more important sign-ups, account creations, and personal uses, such as setting up banking and credit card logins.
The disparate accounts will help you sift through the important emails and the inevitable mass spam that comes with your average retailer.
5. Delete Your Compromised Accounts
The last step you’ll want to take is eliminating and permanently deleting any accounts that you find out have been compromised by a third-party.
Unless you’ve received an email notification about a breach affecting your account, you can use the website Have I Been Pwned? to find out which your email addresses have been compromised. This site will run your email address against a master list of breaches that have occurred to identify if your email exists on one of these lists.
If an account comes back as breached, delete all sensitive data immediately and disable the account for good.
Written by Peter J. Schaub
President & CEO, NeoCertified