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Five tips to protect your identity online

Srivatsan Srinivasan, Product Marketing Manager for Nexmo Verify and Number Insight | May 4, 2015
Srivatsan Srinivasan, Product Marketing Manager for Nexmo Verify and Number Insight provides alternatives to passwords to better protect your online identity.

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

Passwords were once the best way to protect internet users but have now become only a small part in identity security as fraud and data theft continue to become daily occurrences. Ahead of World Password Day, celebrated around the globe on the 7th May, we are going a step further by outlining five tips that can help ensure you effectively protect your online identity:

1.  Use two-factor authentication (2FA)2FA is increasingly becoming the standard to verify your identity -- so much so that the European Banking Authority requires Payment Service Providers to carry out strong customer authentication before proceeding with an online payment. Dozens of popular services offer 2FA, so make sure you opt-in for these as well as your bank accounts and digital wallets. 

2.  Choose strong passwords: When you choose passwords, make sure they are hard to guess by using a wide variety of different characters, letters, numbers and symbols. Also, avoid using information such as important dates or pet names as hackers can find this information via your online profiles.

3.  Take care when logging in on third-party devices: If you must use someone else's computer or work from an internet café, it is important that you log out and deselect any "remember my password" options for all your accounts.

4. Use protected devices: Ensure that all your devices have appropriate protection. Tablets, smartphones, laptops and PCs all have anti-virus software, often free, that can protect users while they browse the internet and prevent malware from infecting their devices and accessing personal data.

5. Biometrics are not as secure as you'd think: Hackers can replicate fingerprints and visual scans much easier than you think. A prime example is when the German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen had her fingerprints copied from smudges on windows and other surfaces. Don't rely on biometrics alone - a combination with verification actions is always best.


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