Most people conduct a lot of our personal business, including banking, online these days, so the need to be savvy when it comes to internet security and protecting personal information online has never been greater. Hackers can scour our online lives – including social media networks – to get the information they need to compromise our security.

Here are some steps we should all take to secure our personal information online:

Strong passwords. Yes, it’s a major pain to create different passwords for each of our online accounts, but it is one of the most effective ways to stop hackers in their tracks. Never use your name or initials in your password. Experts say passwords should be at least 10 characters long and include a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers and characters.

Switch-up your security questions. Many websites now require you to answer a security questions, like where you were born. Instead of answering correctly, choose a place that has special meaning to only you and that is unrelated to your birthplace.

Password-protect your Wi-Fi. Never use an unsecured network in your home – hackers can break in, control your computer and even break into your bank account. Create a strong password for your home Wi-Fi network. And if you are using public Wi-Fi, always log out of your accounts when you are finished.

Double-verification. You know about double verification if you have a Google account: anytime you try to access your account from an unfamiliar device or computer, Google asks for your password and also sends a one-time password that they generate to your cell phone. Whenever a site you regularly use offers you this option, use it.

Back up your data files. Get an external hard drive to back up your data or store your files in the cloud via applications like Dropbox or Apple iCloud.

Never click on questionable attachments or links. Have you ever received an email message from a friend that you know just doesn’t sound right? That friend’s account has been hacked, and their contact list is being used to send spam. If you get an email with just a link from a friend, ignore it. Then let your friend know he or she has been hacked.

If you’d like to learn more about protecting all your assets, including digital assets and other personal information, call our office today to schedule a time for us to sit down and talk. We normally charge $750 for a Family Wealth Planning Session, but because this planning is so important, I’ve made space for the next two people who mention this article to have a complete planning session at no charge. Call today and mention this article.