Data breaches, hacked accounts, private information exposed… With security headlines making the news on a daily basis, TeleSign believes it’s important to be proactive in protecting yourself online. That’s why we’re proud supporters of Safer Internet Day, taking place today (Tuesday, February 10th) across the European Union and here in the US. Safer Internet Day (SID) is organized annually in February by Insafe to promote safer and more responsible use of online technology and mobile phones, especially among children and young people across the world.
In honor of this important day, we have put together three quick things you can do today to ensure you’re set up for a safer 2015:
1. Refresh Your Passwords
A recent TeleSign survey tells us many users are not only using passwords they’ve had since the dawn of time, 62 percent are also re-using those same passwords across all of their accounts. You may have noticed when Taylor Swift’s Twitter account was recently hacked, it was quickly followed by her Instagram account. This could be because she used the same password for both sites. We know it can be hard to remember so many different passwords, but we really like this tip to overcome password fatigue. Strong passwords can be created using a special phrase using numbers symbols and capital letters (example: $aferInternetDay15) and then customized for each site you’re accessing (example: Salesforce would be “SF$aferInternetDay15”). Try refreshing your passwords today and start experiencing a safer internet right away.
2. Lock Your Mobile Phone
Given the fact that most people feel uncomfortable when their cell phone is out of arms reach, we were shocked to learn through our own research that up to 50 percent of users don’t have a lock screen passcode enabled on their mobile devices. Neglecting this simple barrier to entry to your device leaves all of your data and accounts open to prying eyes if it lands in the wrong hands. Without one, any who gets a hold of your phone can easily view your private photos, access accounts with auto log-in enabled (such as social media accounts) or view your personal text messages and call history. Setting up a lock screen passcode is typically under Settings or Security on mobile devices and takes only seconds to enable. Now go set up that passcode before it’s too late!
3. Set Up Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
As important as it is to refresh your passwords and lock your devices, there is another security step available today that can add a high level of security to just about all of your accounts – and it’s as simple as turning it on. Accounts such as your personal email offer an abundance of personal information, and this treasure trove of data is almost always easily accessible with just a username and password. Turning on Two-Factor Authentication, or Two-Step Authentication, adds a second layer of protection to your accounts by sending a verification code to your phone when you are logging in from an unrecognized computer. This simple step thwarts hackers that have acquired your account credentials from phishing and other malicious attacks. Go to your account security settings and turn on this tool for your own security and peace of mind. There’s no telling how many times this simple step will keep you from being affected by the fallout of today’s data breach headlines.
We believe taking these few quick steps will drastically reduce your exposure to hackers throughout the year. Happy Safer Internet Day, from TeleSign!