When devices are lost or hacked and your data is exposed, not only is this a pain to deal with, but you could become a victim of identity theft. Not only do victims of identity theft suffer loss of time but they also lose money that may not be able to be recovered . In McAfee’s recent study, they found on average that people have over $35,000 worth of digital assets stored on their digital devices, further demonstrating the need to protect your personal data on all of your digital devices.

Studies show that identity theft can take anywhere from one hour to 600 hours to rectify, and so dealing with multiple breaches can potentially add up to several wasted years of your life. Other studies have shown that as many as 25% of victims never fully restores his or her compromised identity. The victim has to deal with it for life. It’s just a constant administrative process that never goes away.

For some people, the consequences of identity theft include financial ruin, wrecked marriages, lost jobs or emotional distress. It can be like a recurring plague. Identity theft is not something you want to happen to you or anyone you love.

What are the most effective ways to protect the data on your devices?

Be careful what you store on your devices. Passwords, driver’s license numbers, credit cards, tax statements—all of these can be used to steal your identity.

Be vigilant about what you post online—Remember online is forever and also hackers use online properties to find out information about you and then use this information to try and lure you to giving them more information through phishing and other tactics.

Use strong passwords—this is often the first line of defense against hackers. Remembers passwords should be at least ten characters in length and ideally use a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols and not spell any words or use things like pets’ names or birthdays.

Protect all your devices—PCs, Macs, tablets and smartphones with comprehensive security, like McAfee LiveSafe™ service that includes:

Basic security like antivirus, anti-spyware, anti-phishing, anti-spam and a firewall

Remote locate and lock software to track and lock your PCs, tablets and smartphones if they are lost or stolen.

Password management software to help you securely manage all your usernames/passwords and with one click securely login to any site from any of your devices.

Secure online storage for your most sensitive documents that is only accessible with your face and voice.

Our use of digital devices bring great flexibility and convenience that most of us have come to rely on. It’s up to us to also take steps to make sure we are protecting ourselves and our family, our data and identity.

Robert Siciliano is an Online Security Evangelist to McAfee. Watch him discussing information he found on used electronic devices YouTube. (Disclosures)

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