Privacy, Identity, and Device Protection: Why You Need to Invest in All Three

Tips & Advice

Cybercriminals make people uneasy about the safety of their identity and online accounts. McAfee is your partner who’ll work tirelessly to restore your confidence in your online activities. Check out this roundup of privacy protection, identity protection, and device security best practices to boost your confidence in the safety of your personal information and technology. 

Privacy Protection 

Privacy protection means keeping the information you’d rather keep to yourself from getting in the hands of advertisers, cybercriminals, and nefarious groups seeking to use your personal details for their benefit. To boost your online privacy, all it takes is a few thoughtful additions to your daily browsing, email, and social media routine.  

First, think carefully about your social media habits. Do you post everything about your day and childhood, pin your location, and share photos of documents that include your full name, birthday, or address? You may want to consider cutting back on what you broadcast on the internet, especially if your account is public for anyone to view. Unfortunately, while your friends and family may love your status updates, cybercriminals love them more. After only minutes of snooping, cybercriminals can glean enough personal details about you to impersonate you or target a social engineering attempt at you. To keep your private information private, limit what you share on social media and pare down your follower and friend lists to only people you know in real life. 

Another way to protect your privacy is to use a virtual private network (VPN). A VPN allows you to remain completely anonymous online, scrambling your location and your connection. Some users may swear by incognito mode for safe browsing; however, only a VPN can ensure your privacy is protected. Incognito mode, also known as private mode, deletes your browsing history, cookies, and site data on your device once you log out of a session. While incognito mode prevents someone from snooping on your browsing history if they gain access to your device, you’re still vulnerable to cyber criminals intruding on your sensitive transactions.   

A VPN is especially important when you’re logged on to a public network, like those in coffee shops, libraries, and transportation hubs. Cybercriminals often lurk on non-password-protected Wi-Fi networks and eavesdrop on people paying bills or online shopping to steal their credentials. 

You should also invest in antivirus software, and turn on automatic updates so you can be confident that you are always running the most secure, recent version. McAfee Total Protection Ultimate is an all-in-one service that protects your personal information and privacy. It also includes premium antivirus software, safe browsing, and a VPN. 

Identity Protection 

Another type of online security you need is protection against identity theft. Identity theft is a broad term that can apply to the following unfortunate situations: 

  • Synthetic identity fraud. This most common type of identity theft occurs when a criminal steals a Social Security Number and ascribes it to a totally new identity. 
  • New account fraud. New account fraud happens when a criminal successfully steals personal identifiable information (PII) and financial information and uses a victim’s excellent credit score to open new credit cards, utility accounts, cellphone accounts, etc. 
  • Account takeover fraud. Account takeover fraud means that a cybercriminal steals banking credentials and then adds themselves as authorized users, meaning that they get a credit card tied to the victim’s banking account. Luckily, this type of fraud is on the way out, thanks to the prevalence of EMV chip readers. 
  • Medical identity theft. Medical identity thieves impersonate patients to gain access to their prescription medications and have their medical treatments paid for by the identity theft victim. 
  • Business identity theft. Often targeted at small business owners, business identity theft is when a cybercriminal attempts to open new credit lines in the business’ name or sends customers phony bills and collects the payments themselves. 

In each case, the consequences can be a hassle to deal with and may even affect your finances, credit score, and ability to secure loans, a mortgage, or future credit cards. One way to keep your identity secure is to guard your PII carefully. Never give out your Social Security Number unless it’s absolutely necessary and never share it over email. Also, stay on top of the news and take action immediately if a company that houses your PII is breached by a cybersecurity attack. That way you can quickly take action to hopefully protect your account. 

Sometimes, you do everything right and a cybercriminal still gets their hands on your PII, like through a breach at a company with which you have an account. You may want to invest in an identity protection service that provides dark web monitoring and alerts you to unusual activity that could indicate identity theft.  

McAfee Identity Protection Service is easy to set up and offers extensive monitoring of over 60 types of PII. McAfee notifies identity theft victims up to 10 months sooner than similar identity monitoring services and grants $1 million in ID theft coverage to help you get back on your feet if a cybercriminal steals your identity. 

Device Security 

Device security covers the actions you take to keep your physical devices safe from thieves and harmful software, like viruses and malware.  

The first step to keeping your laptops, tablets, and smartphones safe is to know where your devices are at all times and never let anyone you don’t know to use them. Password-protect your devices, so in the case, you leave your laptop in a taxi or forget your phone at a coffee shop, you know that your information stored within is inaccessible. Back up your files frequently so if you do lose a device and have to wipe it remotely, you don’t lose all your photos or work documents. 

Another component of device security is defending against malicious software. Viruses and malware can make their way onto your devices through several avenues, including sketchy websites, dishonest downloads, phishing schemes, and clicking on ads. Be careful on what you click on and use common sense when visiting websites that look untrustworthy. 

McAfee Total Protection prevents, scans, detects, and deletes viruses and malware from your devices. McAfee antivirus provides real-time, 24/7 threat protection plus a 100% guarantee that it’ll remove viruses from your devices. Additionally, McAfee Web Advisor is a free option that alerts you when you visit potentially risky sites, so you can be more confident in your browsing and downloading. 

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