information security tips guidesIdentity theft is a huge problem. A whopping $16 billion was stolen from U.S. consumers in 2016. All that money was stolen, and more and more green is being stolen each year, because tech devices, systems, and programs are not protected adequately from hackers.

Fortunately, there are some things you can do to protect yourself. Here are four ways to keep your information safe so it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.

1. Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)

We’ll get to passwords in a minute, but first, you should consider enabling two-factor authentication (2FA) on accounts that allow it. This simple security feature provides another step for hackers, which makes accessing your information much more difficult.

For example, instead of just entering a password when logging into your email account, 2FA might require you to type in a special code that is sent to your cell phone in addition to entering your password. With the addition of that single step, hacking into your account becomes nearly impossible for identity thieves.

2. Passwords

You probably already know what goes into creating a great password. You should avoid using actual words, you should use symbols, and you shouldn’t repeat any passwords.

With so many rules to follow, it’s any wonder that you remember your passwords at all! Storing them is okay, as long as you store them the right way.

You can store your passwords electronically with a password manager, or you can store them on your computer, as long as the file is encrypted. Storing them the old-fashioned way by writing them down on a piece of paper is an effective way to keep track of your passwords too.

3. Secure Your Wi-Fi Network

If a thief can gain access to your Wi-Fi network, the hard work is done. Unfortunately, most people set up their wireless network and forget about it.

Instead, you should be doing what you can to keep your Wi-Fi network secure:

  • Never use the default admin and username—create new ones that are hard to guess
  • Change the network name so hackers don’t know what kind of router you’re using
  • Activate encryption so your information is scrambled to outsiders
  • Update your router’s firmware to patch new holes that hackers could exploit

4. Download the Right Software

It is also extremely important to download the right software to keep your devices safe. That includes antivirus software on the computer, but it also means downloading the right software on your mobile devices.

Consider downloading encryption software on your phone so a code must be entered before certain information can be accessed. Antivirus software is a good idea for your mobile devices too, especially since they have the same functional capabilities as your computer.

Hackers get smarter and smarter about accessing your personal information every year, which means you have to be vigilant all the time. With the tips on this list, you are off to a good start. Just make sure you always have an eye on the security of your devices and you can keep your information safe.

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