October is national Cyber Security Awareness month, and state consumer protection officials are urging the public to take a moment to make sure their digital identity is well protected.
Smart phones, tablets, and even fitness devices can all carry sensitive personal information on them, which may be easily accessible to identity thieves if you don’t have strong safeguards in place, warns State Division of Trade and Consumer Protection Administrator Frank Frassetto. “We want to make sure our protection levels are strong and robust,” he says.
Frassetto says the first line of defense is having strong passwords on all of your devices and accounts. He says you should also be sure to change your password regularly, and consider implementing two-factor authentication to raise additional obstacles between your information and potential crooks.
Protections should also include keeping a strong password for your email, since it can often make it much easier to access your other accounts. “Your email account is a prime portal for people to gain access to your information,” Frasetto says, so he cautions users to make sure they have a distinct password that differs greatly from what they use for other online accounts.
If you have a smart phone and don’t have a lock screen set, you could also be asking for trouble, since the devices can offer easy access to a number of accounts. “That’s your first line of defense,” Frasetto argues, as is having a quickly locking screen on your phone or computer.