4 ways to protect your identity, keep personal data off dark web

4 ways to protect your identity, keep personal data off dark web

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - From fitness bands that track your every step to the new iPhone X that lets you pay bills on the go, smart devices were hot ticket items this past holiday season. But the more connected you are the more likely your information can get stolen.

A new report shows people are more comfortable with connected devices ordering items on their behalf.

Worldpay, a payment processing company similar to Apple's Square product, polled more than 20,000 people across the globe to find out how they feel about the advancements in connected devices and, specifically, how comfortable they are with its implications for security, privacy, and payments.

The research revealed that 46-percent said they're comfortable with a home device ordering things on their behalf without asking permission. However, over a third (35%) said that this makes them feel uncomfortable.

So what is a connected device?

It can be your smartphone, home appliances, and pretty much any smart or electronic device that's connected to other devices or wireless networks.

Gartner predicted that 8.4 billion connected "things" were in use in 2017, up 31-percent from 2016, and the average home will have as many as 50 connected devices by 2020.

But cybersecurity experts said before you share your credit card number, protect yourself and limit your digital footprint.

"What I would say to people with a DOT is you need to get to know and understand what Amazon is collecting from that DOT from that voice assistant," Rob Collins, NEOS CEO explained.

Here are four ways you can protect your identity and keep your personal information off the dark web.

Pick a strong username & password 

We hear this all of the time but a strong username and password that has a combination of capital and lower case letters are the first line of defense.

If you have multiple combinations, consider a password manager where you only have to remember one strong password.

Those with new connected devices, Collins urged consumers to review the default settings and change it so it's customized safeguard your privacy and limit how much personal information is given to a company.

Add extra layers of security 

If a vendor offers two-factor authentication, use it! It adds another layer of security by sending you a code, typically via text, that you must enter to access an account.

The iPhone X allows you to setup face recognition to log into your bank account. Also, several bank institutions allow you to add a pin code or fingerprint reader, another layer of protection.

Track your money 

With more payments happening automatically, it's always good to take advantage of your bank's alert system.

Tokenize your payments 

That means companies store and use a version of your card number, a so-called token, rather than the actual card number.

Apple Pay, for instance, uses tokens.

But figuring out if a company is using this process might involve some legwork.

"We're going to see a lot more of that tokenizing because it can be random. And because of that, it makes its harder to crack and get into and steal your identity," Collins added.

The added benefit of using these so-called burner cards is that your whole payments ecosystem isn't upended if one account is compromised.

Remember cyber criminals can't rob of your identity if you're ready for a connected future.

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