Set strong PINs and passwords.
Most importantly, secure every computer and mobile device with a Personal Identification Number and/or biometric (face or fingerprint) lock.
For every online account, create a unique password or phrase at least 12 characters long with a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols. Because these are hard to remember, consider using a reputable password manager program that is “intuitive and affordable,” said Eva Velasquez, chief executive officer of the Identity Theft Resource Center.
“Modern versions of mainstream web browsers like Firefox, Chrome, and Safari all include the ability to suggest and save passwords similar to a password manager and they are perfectly safe and reliable. In fact, they suggest that people have strong passphrases,” she added. But don’t do this if you don’t own the device, if you share it, or if you haven’t secured it with a PIN or biometric lock. Also, don’t let individual websites store your password, only your browser.
Use two-factor authentication.
Enable two-factor authentication whenever possible. When you log into an account with user name and password, it will require another step to verify it’s really you. Usually this is a one-time code sent to your phone, email or authenticator app.
In 2018, the University of Arizona began requiring two-factor authentication for all students, faculty, and staff accessing university systems. “That was the most impactful thing we ever did,” said Lanita Collette, the university’s chief information security officer. “Three years ago, we would have hundreds of compromised student accounts. This year we have had only three.”