How to Secure Online Accounts

Updated on February 14, 2019
EricFarmer8x profile image

Eric has spent years learning about computer security and online security. He loves to share his knowledge of these subjects with others.

Protect Your Online Accounts

Most websites require an account of some sorts to access or use them. It is important to secure our online accounts as much as possible, and I am going to go over advice on how to do this.

This Is a Guide on Security Not Privacy

While some of the things in this guide will increase your privacy, this is not the focus. Also keep in mind that, at some point, you must decide between convenience and security. There are some security options I do not use because they are too inconvenient.

Passwords Can Be the Weakest Link

Be Careful About Your Passwords

One of the biggest weak points of online security is passwords. You have probably used a weak password before, and I know I have in the past.

Use Strong Passwords

Having strong passwords is one the first things you should do to protect your online accounts. A password should be over eight characters long and use capital letters, numbers, and symbols. Using longer and more complex passwords is better.

Do Not Reuse Passwords

After creating a password do not use it again! Doing this is a huge mistake many people make. Why is reusing passwords such a bad thing to do?

People Will Try to Guess Your Account Credentials

We need to role play as a hacker or account thief to understand the issue of password reuse. If I can successfully steal one account from somebody, I will try that same email and password combination at other websites.

Website Breaches

The website storing your login information can be hacked. If your login information is leaked online, don't be surprised if some hackers try to log into other websites using these credentials.

Password Reuse Leads to Other Accounts Being Hacked

If this person does reuse the same password and email everywhere, trying the same combination will lead to me breaking into to other accounts.

Use a Password Manager

Password Managers are Great Online Tools

I have over 50 unique passwords, and there is no way I can remember them all. You should use a password manager to store your online account information.

Password Managers Are More Secure

Using a password manager allows you to make more secure passwords as now you do not have to remember them. Doing this is a huge boost towards protecting your online accounts. If you do use a password manager, disable password storage with your current web browser and stick to using whatever manger you chose.

Password Manager Options

There are Cloud-based and local based password managers. Using a Cloud-based password manager is more convenient. Using a locally stored password manager like KeePass is more secure but a bit more cumbersome to use.

The Password Manager I Use

I am currently using Bitwarden and, this is an open source cloud-based password manager.

Do You Use a Password Manager?

See results

An Example of a Password Manager

My Bitwarden password vault.
My Bitwarden password vault. | Source

Use Two-Factor Authentication Whenever Possible

Use Two-Factor Authentication

Having strong passwords is not enough for me when it comes to protecting my online accounts, and I use anything I can to add extra security to my accounts. If a website offers two-factor authentication, use it! While the extra security may seem like a hassle, it is 100% worth it.

This website shows you what services provide two-factor authentication.

What Is Two-Factor Authentication?

Two-factor authentication is having something other than a password to log into an account, and two-factor authentication applications normally send you temporary codes to use.

Why Is Two-Factor Authentication Useful?

Two-factor authentication makes your accounts much more secure because if the attacker cannot access the device that generates the codes, they should not be able to log into your account.

Examples of Two-Factor Authentication

Code Two-Factor Authentication

You can use a service like Google Authenticator or Authy and some services have individual mobile applications you must use.

Text Two-Factor Authentication

Some services offer authentication by sending texts and I use this type of authentication to protect my PayPal account.

Email Two-Factor Authentication

Some services send codes by email for new sign-ins.

Do You Use Two-Factor Authentication?

See results

Delete Unused Accounts

Don't Keep Unwanted Accounts

If you are 100% sure you will never use an online account again delete it as there is no reason to let businesses have your personal information if you no longer need their services.

This May Be Hard Sometimes

Some websites make deleting accounts hard, and there is no easy or obvious way to do this. I suggest contacting customer support if you find yourself in this situation and want to delete a troublesome account.

Only Store Payment Information with Websites You Use Often

I also recommend only storing payment information for online accounts you spend money with often. Doing this helps prevent a possible thing for hackers to steal and it also helps prevent unauthorized transactions.

Useful Security Related Web Browser Extensions

Use Web Browser Extensions

These are the add-ons/extensions I use to make my web browser more secure. Most of these add-ons/extensions should work with both Google Chrome and Firefox.

Security Extension List

  • Bitdefender TrafficLight: This add-on/extension warns you about dangerous websites, so you do not visit them.
  • HTTPS Everywhere: This extension tries to open the most secure version of web pages. I always leave HTTPS Everywhere on, and it's a nice thing to have to make your internet browsing more secure.
  • Password Manager: Most online-based password managers have browser extensions, and if you use a password manager, I highly suggest using this as well.
  • Ublock Origin: Ads can lead to shady websites with malware, and ads are also annoying and slow down web pages. If you still want to support a website, you can whitelist them or give them a donation.

Clear Your Browsing History When Using Public Computers

Always Sign out of Public Computers

It is important to make sure you sign out of all online accounts before you stop using a public computer. Deleting the current web browser history makes sure you do not miss anything. I do this when I start and finish using a public computer.

Use Incognito/Private Browsing

It's even better if you can use an incognito/private browsing mode as then nothing will get saved, to begin with.

How to Delete Browser History on Firefox

How to delete browser history on Firefox.
How to delete browser history on Firefox. | Source

Be Careful of Public WiFi Networks

Be More Mindful of Security on Public WiFi

Be wary of using public WiFi networks as hackers love to use public WiFi to find victims. While there won't be a hacker every time you use a public network, try to avoid doing anything too personal.

Using VPNs May Be a Good Option

Some people recommend only using public WiFi networks with a VPN. This article from Tom's Hardware goes over VPN services, and it is a good place to start doing research.

Do You Use a VPN?

See results

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

    © 2017 Eric Farmer

    Was This Article Helpful? Did You Learn Anything? Feel Free to Comment.

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment
      • Glenn Stok profile image

        Glenn Stok 

        12 months ago from Long Island, NY

        In reference to your last comment, I guess I’m one of those 10% because I use the Google Authenticator. I like it better than the other type of Two-Factor Authentication that sends a text to your phone. People don’t realize how easy it is to use until they try it. And it sure adds protection. A hacker would have to steal your phone to get in.

      • EricFarmer8x profile imageAUTHOR

        Eric Farmer 

        12 months ago from Phoenix Arizona

        Thanks. I just read an article this week where a senior Google developer stated that only about 10% of Google account holders use Two-Factor Authentication. I know in the past it tended to be more annoying but it is not so bad now.

      • Glenn Stok profile image

        Glenn Stok 

        12 months ago from Long Island, NY

        You did an excellent job with this article Eric. Lots of useful information and well-explained. With all the hacking going on, I think Two-Factor Authentication is one of the best solutions. Like you, I also use it wherever I can.

      • EricFarmer8x profile imageAUTHOR

        Eric Farmer 

        13 months ago from Phoenix Arizona

        Thanks for the comment. It seems like using all HTPS would be fine from I am reading but I would do some personal research. I do not have too much experience running a website myself. It is something I am planning on doing in the future.

      • cclitgirl profile image

        Cynthia Calhoun 

        13 months ago from Western NC

        Nicely written. :) I do a lot of work online and have systems in place for strong passwords and even installed an SSL certificate on my website. Here's a question:o Though the unsecure version is what comes up (unless people know to type in "https" I am hesitant to make the entire thing "https" because of caching and my CDN not being able to cache for international visitors. I hear it's harder for that to happen. What do you think is best here? Right now, I don't sell anything on my site, but if I were, I might secure the purchasing page and not the rest.

      • EricFarmer8x profile imageAUTHOR

        Eric Farmer 

        13 months ago from Phoenix Arizona

        Thanks. I tried to make it as informative as I can.

      • Robert Sacchi profile image

        Robert Sacchi 

        13 months ago

        Thank you. This article has lots of good information.

      • EricFarmer8x profile imageAUTHOR

        Eric Farmer 

        13 months ago from Phoenix Arizona

        Thanks for the nice comment.

      • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

        Chitrangada Sharan 

        13 months ago from New Delhi, India

        Great informative article!

        I can see that you have published some very informative hubs about internet games. I am sure many readers must be searching for this.

        Well done and keep up the good work!

      • EricFarmer8x profile imageAUTHOR

        Eric Farmer 

        15 months ago from Phoenix Arizona

        There are still are plenty of terms I do not know myself! It is always nice to learn new things.

      • profile image

        Mary Diderich 

        15 months ago

        Learned quite a few things. You have used terms that I am not at all familiar with and that provides me with an opportunity to do some research and learn even more.

        Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

      • EricFarmer8x profile imageAUTHOR

        Eric Farmer 

        15 months ago from Phoenix Arizona

        I am glad you learned something.

      • profile image

        Judy OLSON 

        15 months ago

        Great information!!!!! Lots I never even knew about!!!! Thank you!!!!!!

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, turbofuture.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://turbofuture.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)