Protecting Your Digital Identity: Internet Safety for Common Names

People all over the world are losing themselves—but not in some sort of spiritual or ethereal kind of way, but through the loss or theft of their digital identities. In essence, your digital identity is the sum of different points of identifiable information available online that can be traced directly back to you. 

This type of information can range from things as innocuous as photos of yourself you’ve posted online, all the way to more sensitive data like your tax ID and bank accounts. The various pieces of information that comprise your digital identity can be a goldmine for hackers and other malicious actors, potentially leaving you subject to identity theft or other types of fraud, especially when it comes to people with common names like Emma Davis or James Smith.

Thankfully, you don’t need to lay around waiting to be a potential victim to these bad actors, there are a variety of active steps, measures, and precautions you can take to help protect your digital identity and keep it safe.

Basic Security Techniques To Employ

Sometimes the best solutions for a situation are also the simplest, and employing some basic security best practices into your daily routine can do wonders for safeguarding your digital identity.

Use Strong and Unique Passwords

You can start off by using strong and unique passwords for each of your accounts online. After all, if you’re using the same password across multiple accounts and one of them is compromised, all of your accounts become compromised. 

If you have a bunch of different accounts to use and find that you have difficulty keeping track of all of your unique passwords, you can try using a secure password manager like Google Password Manager or Lastpass to help you. 

Use Essential Security Software

Having some sort of basic security software on your phones and other devices help create a safer online environment for yourself overall, and can help identify and neutralize threats as they pop up. 

On top of this, consider investing in a reliable VPN solution like NordVPN or ProtonVPN to help shield your data and information as you send it over the internet.


Keep Software Updated

While we may sometimes be prompted to update software at some less-than-opportune moments, it’s vital for you to keep your devices and essential software on the latest publicly released version at all times. The world of malware and cyberattacks is constantly expanding and evolving, with new types of attacks and attack vectors opening up on devices everyday.

Thankfully, most developers are adept at rapidly responding to these new attacks in the form of software updates and patches. By keeping your software at the most up-to-date version, you can add another layer of defense against potential cyber threats online.


Be Mindful Of Oversharing

While social media gives people a central platform to express themselves and serves as a great outlet for people to showcase themselves to the world, there is a real limit to how much of yourself you should put out there into the public. For people with common names this can be very worrying, as the easy searchability of their names can potentially make them more of a target.

Hackers and other malicious actors love to search through social media platforms like Facebook as a simple way to harvest various forms of personal data to potentially use and exploit. Simple things that you may think would otherwise be innocuous, like your birth date or your mother’s maiden name, are key pieces of information that these bad actors can use to compromise your accounts.

Ensure Sites and Services Are Encrypted

Before sending any important information like account or payment details to a website, ensure that they’re employing encryption at all times to keep that data safe. Encryption effectively creates a secure tunnel between yourself and the website, securing data in transit and preventing prying eyes from seeing or exploiting it.

You can look out for this by checking for ‘https’ at the beginning of the page’s URL, or by looking for a lock symbol to the left of the site address on the address bar on most modern browsers.

Watch Out For Phishing Attempts

Phishing attacks are a great way for bad actors to get information from potential targets. This attack vector encompasses a wide umbrella of methods and techniques that cybercriminals use. 

These types of cyber attacks have become increasingly common and more aggressive as awareness of them grows and hackers are forced to come up with innovative, sophisticated, and unique ways to get people to hand over their data. 

The best way to protect yourself against modern phishing attacks is to educate yourself about the different types of phishing attempts that are out there, how you can spot them, and basic techniques for maintaining data security.

Safeguarding Your Digital Identity

Whether you have a common name or an obscure one, safeguarding your digital identity is vital no matter who you are. With information from it in hand, cybercriminals can potentially subject you to various forms of fraud or even outright identity theft.

By employing these different tips and techniques outlined above, you can better protect yourself against potential cyber threats and maintain the integrity of your data.