New Year’s Resolution: Pledge to Protect Your Digital Self in 2022

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The New Year is almost here, bringing with it a time for celebration with friends and family, watching fireworks, and setting new personal goals.

This New Year, it may be time to add a cybersecurity resolution to your list to help protect that most overlooked of commodities – your digital identity.

The end of 2021 brings a chilling indicator of user passivity to online safety practices, with record-breaking financial impacts of identity-related crimes. Cybercrime continues to flourish in a pandemic-driven digital landscape that brings new opportunities for fraudulent activity, phishing campaigns, and malware attacks that take advantage of decreased cyber resilience among users.

Let’s get cracking on our New Year’s resolution to boost online safety:

Update your passwords

Passwords are the first line of defense against unauthorized access to your personal data, and good cyber hygiene dictates you use strong and unique passwords for each online account. Obvious passwords such as your pet’s name or favorite band are very easy to crack, letting cybercriminals take over your accounts and steal your personal data and money. If you can’t resist the urge to use the same password on more than one account, consider using a password management tool.

Bitdefender Password Manager is a multi-platform service that auto-saves, auto-fills, automatically generates, and manages your passwords for all websites and online services with the help of a single Master Password so you no longer have to spend time typing your logins and resetting forgotten passwords.

Level-up on privacy with a VPN

A virtual private network, or VPN, creates a secure tunnel between you and the online destination you want to visit. In other words, a VPN will protect your online activity against eavesdropping by encrypting your internet traffic, a much-needed tool, especially if you connect to a public WiFi network to shop or bank.

Bitdefender VPN gives you the freedom to browse anonymously and perform online banking transactions in a secure environment so cybercriminals can’t steal your data and credit card information. The product comes with two new features, including an ad-blocker and anti-tracker, to further bolster your privacy and ensure an uninterrupted browsing experience.

Install a security solution on all your devices

Antivirus security solutions, a vital component of your cyber resilience program, keep your devices free of computer viruses, Trojans, spyware and other malicious software, including ransomware. Installing and keeping a security solution up to date will not only boost digital security but also protect you against security breaches stemming from unsafe online activity, including browsing.

Bitdefender Total Security packs multi-layered and innovative technologies that keep you safe from malicious attacks, fraudulent websites, links and phishing attacks that seek to harvest your login data and financial information. You can check out our 90-day free trial, and benefit from complete real-time data protection on your Windows, Mac, iOS or Android device.

Say no to phishing

Fraudsters and scammers are very creative, piggybacking on the health crisis and digital transformation to defraud users. They masquerade as trustworthy organizations or businesses, crafting official-looking websites, emails or texts to lure you into accessing malicious links or giving away your personal information. Be a cyber-smart citizen and use your common sense to stop scammers in their tracks. Don’t access attachments from unsolicited emails and never provide sensitive information via email, phone or text message. Look for typos and grammar mistakes and never follow unsolicited requests urging you to log in to an account or type your credit card number.

Stop oversharing on social media

Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are highly lucrative hunting grounds for scammers and identity thieves scouring the web for unwary victims. Providing too much information when you post could give a cybercriminal or fraudster the information they need to conduct targeted social engineering attacks to steal your identity or access your financial data. Over-sharing can also pose real-life threats, allowing a malicious individual to track your whereabouts or break into your home.

Social media posts and profile details open new avenues for identity theft and privacy issues. To avoid any invasion of privacy, enhance your privacy and security settings on each social media platform, enable two-factor authentication and be selective of whom you befriend on these platforms.

Monitor your digital footprint

Whenever you connect or use the internet, you create a collection of personal data that builds a digital profile associated with your persona that serves multiple purposes, depending on the interested party. A marketing company, for example, will use the information collected in your profile to deliver you customized ads on the webpages you visit, while potential malicious actors can use the information to ruin your reputation and harass you online.

You can stop guessing what the internet knows about you with Bitdefender’s Digital Identity Protection service, a privacy-focused tool that gives you instant access to a map of your digital footprint, including online accounts and publicly available data.  The tool also provides dark web monitoring so you can stay on top of data breaches and privacy threats, with easy-to-follow one-click action items allowing you to shut down any weak points in your digital footprint. Moreover, users of Bitdefender’s Digital Identity Protection service gain a new superpower, allowing them to detect social media impersonators that threaten their livelihood and reputation.

Happy New Year!