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The top ways to beef up your online security in 2021

Posted at 5:30 AM, Jan 19, 2021

(WXYZ) — As the new year brings hope for a healthier year, have you thought about improving your online health? Stories about identity theft and companies tracking your every move might make you wonder if it's time to tighten things up for yourself.

Jerry Harris, a small business owner who runs a dog-walking service, opening up a concerning message from his inbox.

“I received an email from Facebook -- it identified that my account had been locked out," he said.

Harris learned that his business' Facebook page has been compromised after a hacker gained access and changed the login.

“The biggest problem of course is that I can no longer control my own business Facebook page," he said.

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Harris said he feels helpless, like an outsider looking in on his own business – a feeling millions of people experience every year.

Consumer Reports has several recommendations on how to tighten up your online privacy.

First, they say to set up two-factor authentication – something you might already use with online banking and other, more secure sites.

“Two-factor authentication is an extra layer of protection and the idea here is if someone gets a hold of your password, they’ll need another piece of information," CR's Thomas Germain said.

Next, guard against phishing – that's where hackers try to get you to give up information about yourself that could help them steal your identity.

“Avoid clicking on links in texts or emails, especially if there’s something about that message that seems suspicious," Germain added.

Finally, it's nearly impossible to remember every password, but there's an easy solution: use a password manager.

Consumer Reports' top-rated password managers are 1Password, Keeper and Bitwarden.

They also recommend checking out the personalized security planner at You can use that guide to get more detailed and personalized advice for the products and services you use.