Keeping your private information private is increasingly important as our digital world expands. There are steps you can take to protect the things you want to stay private – and some of them take but a few clicks.
Read on for some cybersecurity hygiene steps to help keep yourself secure online.
Memes and viral trends may mean new friends but sharing on social media also opens you up to risk. Connect with your network but take caution too. Social media is a commonly-used tool by bad actors to gather information about you and then steal your identity or create fake accounts and extort information or infect your family and friends.
- Secure your social media accounts with a long and strong password. If a social media platform offers multi-factor authentication (MFA), this can be an additional security measure beyond a standard password that you should opt-in to use.
Be careful and think before posting. Don’t put your direct contact information or private details in a public profile. Some examples of unintentional ways you may share more private information than intended:
- Blur out your house number if posting a picture of moving into your new home.
- If looking for help or recommendations, ask your network to DM you instead of providing your email address or phone number.
- Want to join the latest pop culture “What’s your name” game where you pull together your first pet’s name, street name and maiden name to come up with a unique character name? Think before sharing those details as they could be incorporated in your passwords or security question for other accounts.
- Only connect to people on social media who you know and trust.
- Phish and scams come through DMs too. Treat all messages from known and unknown people as a potential scam.
- Sign-out of social media accounts after using a shared computer.
Phishing is sort of what it sounds like: Someone is trying to catch you unaware. Bad actors send malicious links via email to steal personal information. It happens a lot, but you can be the first line of defense. Don't take the bait!
- Hover over links before clicking to preview the URL.
- Analyze the content. Look for typos, misspelled words or poor grammar. Is the context of the email normal or are they attempting to scare or create a sense of urgency that feels suspicious?
- Don’t finish something you didn’t start. If you didn’t enter a contest and still won something, be wary before clicking a link or providing information.
- Instead of clicking on a link in the email, verify information by going to the company’s website to see if the URL or contact information matches.
- Research if a similar scam is currently in the news or on social media sites by doing a quick online search.
Autofill is amazing when you really want to buy something quickly. But before you do, make sure you know where you're shopping! Consumers should be mindful of their online shopping habits to ensure they shop safely and keep their information secure. Here are a few ways you can keep your information secure – even Eas you engage in some retail therapy.
- Only shop at familiar and trusted sites. Research unfamiliar sites before purchasing by doing a quick online search to see if that retailer has been listed as fraudulent or to see if the brand, items and pricing matches what you found.
- Be wary of suspiciously low prices. Does the deal sound too good to be true? Try searching for the item (not specific to the retailer) to see how the price compares to some of the competitors.
- Beware of fake shopping apps. Only download apps that are available in your app store.
- When using online marketplaces between individuals, never use bank transfers with untrusted parties. Many scams begin with these bank transfers.
- Make sure your device’s security software is up to date.
Keeping your network secure is essential. If someone gains access to your router, they can see anything connected to your network – including your phone and any internet-enabled gadgets, like your garage door or your security system. 22% of consumers have detected malicious software on a computer, Wi-Fi network, smartphone, tablet, smart home or other connected device. (Source: Norton)
- Invest in a router with a firewall or use a personal software firewall.
- Change the default username and password on your router.
- Change the router name (aka default service set identifier (SSID)) on your router. Refer to the instruction manual for the router to see specific steps for your type of router.
- Keep the router firmware updated by following the recommendations of your internet service provider and the router’s user manual.
- Disable remote management for your router. To learn how, check the user manual for your specific router model.
The more connected our mobile device is to our online accounts and network, the more important it is to ensure you are taking the necessary steps to stay secure.
- Enabling passcodes and biometrics (if applicable) for your phone and specific apps that contain more sensitive information like mobile banking and shopping apps. Update passcodes frequently and never share them with anyone.
- Be careful of SMShing, which is similar to phishing but in text message form. Bad actors can use short URLs in a SMShing message to take you to a malicious site or download malware on your device. Do a quick online search to see if the message or the short URL is valid before you click or respond.
- Securely dispose of your old devices. Reset the device to factory settings and then turn it in to a reputable mobile recycling center or your mobile service provider. Do not just throw away an old device.
- Turn on automatic updates for all devices so you have the latest security patches and bug fixes updated.
- Double check privacy settings for apps including location and data sharing.
Strong passwords across accounts and devices is an important tool to keeping your privacy secure online. Accounts now have different requirements on what they define as a strong password including capitalization, symbols, numbers and total number of characters in the password. Did you know that a password like “L3ngth=Str3ngth!” takes about 412,000,000,000,000 years to crack?
Further enhance your password security by following these simple steps:
- Use a trusted password manager.
- Do not share your passwords with anyone else.
- Use a passphrase, which is like a sentence that strings together a few words and is longer than a traditional password but could be easier for the user to remember. Example (don’t use this one specifically): L3ngth=Str3ngth!
- Change your passwords - yes even the strong, complex and lengthy ones – if you suspect they’ve been compromised.
- Do not reuse usernames and passwords across multiple accounts. If account credentials are compromised on one site, bad actors could try that known username and password on other sites. Leverage trusted websites like haveibeenpwned.com and browser tools to check to see if your credentials were shared publicly.
- Future state: Link to a Walmart story about proactive account resets when Walmart.com accounts use a recycled password.
With the increase in use of data and technology, trust becomes critically important. Our Global Information Security team is responsible for securing our digital ecosystem, minimizing risk across the enterprise and defending against cyberthreats to protect customers, members, associates, data and systems.
- Help Topic – If you have unrecognized charges or orders on your Walmart account, here are some resources.
- ESG Report – Learn more about Walmart’s cybersecurity and Information security program in the Digital Citizenship section of the ESG report.
- Policy – Read about our Responsible Disclosure Policy.
- LinkedIn Life Page – Learn more about Walmart’s Information Security team.
- U.S. Careers – Interested in joining our Information Security team?
- Privacy & Security – View Walmart’s Privacy and Security page.