Strengthen your defenses on Identity Management Day

By Allstate Identity Protection

Identity Management Day — an online privacy awareness event sponsored by two nonprofits, the Identity Defined Security Alliance and the National Cyber Security Alliance — takes place on the second Tuesday in April. The campaign is an opportunity to adopt good privacy habits, such as using two-factor authentication and deleting apps you don’t often use.

Ready for some spring cleaning  of your digital life? On April 12, Identity Management Day provides the perfect opportunity for tidying things up online.

Sponsored by two nonprofit groups — the Identity Defined Security Alliance and the National Cyber Security Alliance — the campaign is all about inspiring business leaders and consumers to step up their privacy practices. 

Here at Allstate Identity Protection, that’s a mission we can get behind. That's why we’re sharing five things you can do today to strengthen your digital defenses. Join us by checking a few things off your privacy to-do list — and bonus points for encouraging friends and colleagues to do the same. 

Let’s work together to #BeIdentitySmart! 

Set strong passwords — and use multiple factors 

Secure passwords are key to staying safe online. 

You probably already know that it’s not a good idea to recycle existing passwords, or to use easy-to-guess personal details, like your maiden name or birthday. 

Still, according to Verizon’s 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report, as many as 61% of breaches leverage weak, stolen or otherwise compromised credentials. 

When it comes to setting strong passwords, we advise aiming for something long, complicated, and totally unique. The easiest way to accomplish this is with a password manager. 

Whenever possible, it’s smart to also use multi-factor authentication. That way you’ll be protected by a password and an additional verification method, such as biometrics or a one-time code sent to your smartphone or email. The second layer of protection makes it that much harder for a criminal to pose as you — and that’s a very good thing. 

Update your software 

Software updates help your devices run more smoothly and improve user experience. Perhaps most importantly, they also fix known security flaws. 

Unfortunately, out-of-date software may contain vulnerabilities that criminals can manipulate, leaving you open to cyberattacks and malware infection. 

When your devices ping you about security updates, install them right away — or set up automatic updates. This goes for any device that connects to the internet: computers, smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, and more. 

Be wary of scams 

According to Javelin’s 2021 Identity Fraud Study, 39 million people fell victim to identity fraud scams, with criminals vacuuming up $43 billion in losses. 

Being aware of the rise in scams — and maintaining a healthy skepticism — is the first step to protecting yourself. 

It’s also smart to stay vigilant for signs of phishing, such as: 

  • Blurry images or logos
  • Frequent typos
  • Urgent calls for action (“Click now, or your account may be deleted”)
  • Misspelled email addresses  
  • Misleading URLs (hover your mouse over the link to see its true destination) 
  • Requests for sending funds via wire transfer

Visit the Federal Trade Commission for additional tips about protecting yourself from phishing and other types of scams.

Be mindful on social

We’ve written before about how little shares can equal big reveals

Take a few minutes to consider what you’ve shared on social and how it may affect the security of your identity. 

When personal information becomes publicly available, it can be used by criminals to guess your passwords, craft highly targeted phishing attacks, or simply figure out when you’re not at home. 

Sometimes it’s better to say less and share later — like, say, after you’ve returned from a vacation. 

Delete apps you’re not using

Each time you download an app, you may be giving away more of your personal information than you realize. 

Many apps gather sensitive data, such as your location, browsing history, and contacts — often without your explicit permission. Those details may be buried in a lengthy privacy policy. 

From there, the app developers may share your data with third parties, such as advertisers or payment processors, either for profit or to improve user experience.  

Whenever an app, site, or advertiser who is storing your data is breached, it further erodes your privacy. That’s why it’s a good idea to delete apps you don’t actively use. Or, if you use an online service infrequently, consider deleting the app and using the browser version instead.  

Help spread the word

High five for taking a few minutes to protect yourself online! 

Want to do even more? Share these tips with loved ones so they can do the same, and visit the event site for additional tips and resources. 

Happy #IDMgmtDay, everybody!