Protect your digital identity – must read tips from the Tuta Team.

Today our digital identity contains a lot of private data that should be protected. In this guide, the Tuta Team share their three best practices to protect yourself online.

Protect your digital identity: With more and more of our data being available online, it’s so important!
As everything is becoming digital and moving online, our identity and personal data is, too. Many of us are quick to hand out our cellphone numbers, email addresses, and even social security numbers, passport or ID numbers. While handing out our personal details allows us to get things done efficiently (thank you internet!), it also leaves room for external threats. This is why protecting your digital identity has become one of the most important tasks to stay safe online. There are a few easy practices you can integrate into your online routine to ensure you keep your online data secure.

Think about it, many processes we used to do in person have moved online. Need to get medical results from your doctor, apply for a visa, or speak to your lawyer or psychologist? Well, there’s a high chance that part of this process if not all will take place digitally. Whether it’s via email, have the actual call over Zoom, or fill out the forms online. And with that, we give out a lot of personal information online.

The more data is being available online, the easier it gets for malicious attackers to abuse our data for fraud, identity theft, and more. Fortunately, you can protect yourself and your data! Let's dive into it to learn how to best protect your digital identity in today's online world.

Table of contents

Personal data in the online age

I know that over the past 15 years of using the internet, I’ve handed out a scary amount of personal information. More than I’d like to think about to be honest. Two I’ve given out too easily and many a time are my email address and cellphone number Today many people are quick to upload and share online – and when I say share, I don’t mean sharing your latest dinner pics on social media sites like Instagram or Facebook but rather how everyday life requires us to share and upload personal data online to get things done. From communicating with civil services to doctors and schools, everything takes place online nowadays. But because we are sharing so much online, our digital identity is at risk. The data we share contains confidential information which mustn’t fall into the wrong hands.

Our digital identities are more valuable to malicious hackers and if our personal data falls into the wrong hands, it could have many negative consequences. That’s why implementing the following easy steps to protect your digital identity can make you more safe – online and offline.

Your digital identity is vulnerable

We often discuss how big tech companies like Google and Facebook collect as much data as possible and how to protect yourself from data mining, but just as important is protecting your data and online identity from external threats. Today, your private details like name, email address, passwords, credit card details, and social security number are at risk of being stolen and wrongly used by cybercriminals and hackers for many malicious acts like identity theft or financial fraud.

According to Breach Sense, in 2023, 4100 publicly known breaches occurred, and in the 3rd quarter of 2022, nearly 190 million accounts were hacked. While companies work hard to prevent data breaches and protect user information, unfortunately, the immense amount of data companies own about us, makes their servers very lucrative targets for malicious hackers.

We’ve all heard of the scandalous Dropbox data breach where 68 million Dropbox credentials got leaked - making us question whether Dropbox is still safe to use,. Or do you remember Yahoo! Mail’s large data breach where 500 million Yahoo! user’s information got compromised. Scarily enough breaches like these are not a thing of the past, today in 2024, these things are still happening! That’s why it’s not enough to rely on companies to protect your data, each of us must become knowledgeable into how to best secure their data and identity while surfing the web.

Data breaches in 2024

To highlight how vulnerable your digital identity is to falling victim to a breach, here are a few of the top breaches that have happened in 2024 so far.

Ticketmaster Snowflake data breach

If you’re not convinced that people’s digital identities are still at threat in 2024, currently unfolding is the huge Ticketmaster and Santander Bank data breach which is linked to Snowflake cloud storage. It has been reported but not yet confirmed that up to 560 million Ticketmaster accounts have been affected.

Trello data breach

In January, Trello, a popular online project management and digital collaboration tool was targeted and 15 million user accounts got leaked. The leaked Trello user data then appeared to be up for sale on a hacking forum.

Mother of All Breaches: (MOAB)

Yet another attack which happened in January earlier this year was dubbed the Mother of All Breaches after a whopping 26 billion records got leaked. User information from well-known companies like LinkedIn, Twitter, and, Adobe among others were compromised.

Given that these breaches are so huge and that large companies are affected – companies which many of us have an account with – it might seem pointless to invest in safeguarding your digital identity. But the opposite is true:

Because of breaches like these, we must make sure our identity remains safely hidden from external threats.

So let’s dive into how you can achieve the best security.

How to protect yourself and your data

I’m not sure about you, but having my credit card details sold by a hacker group on the dark web sounds like an absolute nightmare! If you feel the same way, keep reading for our list of simple changes you can make to help keep your online identity safe.

Password manager and strong passwords

We’re all guilty of using the same password for several accounts at some point... it’s only natural! Why would we create unique passwords for every single online account we have anyways.

Well, because it’s a must to use unique and strong passwords if you want to keep your accounts safe. Luckily, there’s a simple solution: choose one of the best password managers from our tested list; all have a strong focus on privacy and security! A password manager allows you to securely store all your passwords in a locked vault, and you still only need to remember one single password – the one for the manager. There are many free password managers available which also create good passwords so that you don’t have to think about how to create a strong one! By using strong and unique passwords for your online accounts, you can avoid falling victim to credential stuffing attacks and ensure your online accounts are more secure.

Logos of password managers: Bitwarden and KeePassVC Using a password manager like Bitwarden or KeePassXCensures all your passwords are securely stored in one place. It’s the perfect way to store and create unique and authentic passwords for all your online accounts.

End-to-end encrypt your emails

As mentioned before, a lot of private communication is done via email or through online forms, and just about everything requires you to hand out your email address. A large part of our digital identity needs to be kept safe in our mailbox. If an attacker gained access to our private emails and every information that is stored in our mailbox, they would have access to a lot of personal info; let alone online accounts they could take over with a simple password reset request that is being sent to the mailbox. For this reason, ensuring your mailbox is private and secure is vital for safeguarding your data online. Yet, your emails are only free from scanning, from being read by unsolicited third parties, and from being leaked is by using a privacy-focused email provider that’s post-quantum encrypted, like Tuta Mail. Tuta Mail end-to-end encrypts your whole mailbox, contacts, and calendar automatically.

When it comes to choosing the best email provider, one should always opt for an encrypted email service. Unfortunately big tech email providers like Yahoo! have fallen victim to data breaches, and because they do not end-to-end encrypt emails, a lot of personal user data gets leaked. Outlook on the other hand, was called out for sharing user’s emails, contacts, and passwords with the new version of Microsoft. While this isn’t a data breach, it’s a high security risk and highlights the need to protect your private communications with encryption.

Screenshot of Tuta Mail and Tuta Calendar Your mailbox contains a lot of private information which is why it should be encrypted by default. With Tuta Mail, you can send post-quantum encrypted emails to anyone and have peace of mind that you personal data remains protected in Tuta’s encrypted mailbox and calendar!

Keep your software updated

Again, like creating a different password for every account, staying up to date with the latest updates might seem like a hassle, but it’s worth it! If you’re wondering why updates are important, the main reason is for security. The LastPass breach is a prime example of how not updating your software can impact security. LastPass suffered a huge data breach in which an indefinite number of passwords got leaked because an engineer didn’t update Plex software on his home computer. This highlights how important software updates are to protect your information.

Protect your accounts with a security key (U2F)

Another great way to ensure your digital identity remains yours is to jack up the security of your accounts. Besides using different passwords, another way to protect online accounts is with U2F two-factor authentication. Using a U2F key is the most secure option for protecting your accounts from external attacks.

U2F two-factor authentication: Logos of Nitrokey and Yubico The most secure way to protect your accounts from unauthorized access is to use a physical U2F hardware keys. For top security, we’d recommend investing in a Nitrokey or YubiKey.

Remain vigilant and cautious

While we have given you some practical tips for increasing your security to protect your digital identity, you should always remember, that when online you need to be aware of what you’re signing up for and what information you’re handing out. Many of us want to get things done instantly and easily, so it can be very easy to skim things over and not pay as much attention to our privacy as we should.

But in the long run, implementing these three small habits into your online routine will really help protect your identity when using the internet. And it's not too much to ask:

To better protect your online identity, we recommend: 1. using a password manager, 2. using encrypted e-mail such as Tuta Mail, 3. using U2F. That's it!

We hope that our tips from the Tuta Team will help you stay safe online. At Tuta, we fight for privacy with encryption. Our goal is that everyone can communicate confidentially online – and part of this, is of course protecting your digital identity!

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