Securing your digital life, part two: The bigger picture—and special circumstances

Securing your digital life, part two: The bigger picture—and special circumstances

Enlarge (credit: ANDRZEJ WOJCICKI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY / Getty Images)

In the first half of this guide to personal digital security, I covered the basics of assessing digital risks and protecting what you can control: your devices. But the physical devices you use represent only a fraction of your overall digital exposure.

According to a report by Aite Group, nearly half of US consumers experienced some form of identity theft over the last two years. Losses from these thefts are expected to reach $721.3 billion for 2021—and that’s only counting cases where criminals take over and abuse online accounts. Other valuable parts of your digital life may not carry specific monetary risks to you but could still have a tangible impact on your privacy, safety, and overall financial health.

Case in point: last September, my Twitter account was targeted for takeover by an unidentified attacker. Even though I had taken multiple measures to prevent the theft of my account (including two-factor authentication), the attacker made it impossible for me to log in (though they were locked out of the account as well). It took several weeks and some high-level communication with Twitter to restore my account. As someone whose livelihood is tied to getting the word out about things with a verified Twitter account, this went beyond inconvenience and was really screwing with my job.

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