With great power comes great responsibility. You’ve heard that one before, but it’s not just a lesson for the friendly neighborhood Spiderman. This advice applies to your phone. Now that you can Facetime relatives halfway across the world, creep an ex’s Twitter, find online loans, and order takeout with just a few swipes, you’re exchanging an increasing amount of personal data over the Internet for these luxuries. It’s your duty to keep this information protected, however you use or send it. If you aren’t sure how to best protect your personal data, here are five simple tips for keeping your data safe.
- Design an uncrackable password
What do the birth year of your first child, the name of your childhood pet, and the last four digits of your phone number have in common? They’re all examples of bad passwords. You should never use personal information that others could easily guess. Industry experts say a strong password consists of the following:
- At least six characters. (There’s no cap if you can remember it. The longer it is, the hard it will be to crack)
- A mixture of upper and lower case letters
If you’re finding it hard to remember something like GjTh%1so#2 as a password, you might want to use a password manager. These secure services store your passwords on an encrypted database kept on your computer or phone.
- Use a different password for each profile
Even a strong password has its weakness. Its ability to protect your data diminishes each time you reuse it. Passwords suffer from overexposure, so you should use a distinct password for each of your accounts—especially if they protect your online banking or taxes.
3.Don’t let Chrome remember your password
Whether you’ve logged into Facebook or approved a purchase on Amazon, Chrome will have asked you if you want it to remember your login and financial information. While this convenient service will save you both the pain of recalling your button-mash of a password and the time it takes you to type it all out, its risks outweigh its advantages. Chrome doesn’t provide any protection for these saved passwords. Anyone who has access to your computer or mobile device will be able to see these passwords simply by typing chrome://settings/passwordsinto the address bar.
- Enable multi-factor authentication
A password is good, but a password verified by a time-sensitive token is better. That’s what’s involved with multi-factor authentication. It’s an added security step that requiressomething that proves it’s genuinely you trying to enter your account.
Two-Factor Authentication (or 2FA, as it’s also known) involves two steps. First: the usual password. Second: a piece of information that only the true user should know. 2FA usually involves a time-sensitive passcode or token sent as a text or email to the number or email attached to the profile. The user then has to enter this token correctly to access the account.
Multi-factor authentication (MFA) adds a biometric step to this verification process that involves scanning your fingerprint or face before you can access your account.While you can enable MFA and 2FA for a variety of accounts, it’s at its most effective when put in place to protect your financial apps.
5.Read app terms and conditions carefully
Terms and conditions aren’t just for contracts. They also make up every app that uses your personal information in exchange for its services. It doesn’t matter if it’s a rebate app like Ibotta or a cash advance app like MoneyKey, they all have their specific privacy regulations. You need to read these carefully before you download and use any app to make sure the service plans to protect your private data. This is especially true when you plan to get personal loans online, as your app will need to exchange financial accounts numbers and other details to connect you with cash.
These terms and conditions also serve as a good reminder of your responsibilities, including keeping your phone safe, locked, and password protected.
Though these tips are relatively simple, they’re an effective means of keeping your data safe. And their power increases when you piggyback their methods on top of each other. When you use all safety precautions available to you, you’ll be able to keep your identity safe regardless of how you use your phone.