Security experts recommend using Multi-factor authentication to help secure the applications and online accounts you use. You can choose to go the virtual route, where you first enter your username and password and are then prompted to enter an OTP or action a verification email. Alternatively, you can invest in a hardware security key.

This nifty device looks like a USB, but its purpose is way more complicated. Developed by Google and a security company called Yubico, this device is created using the FIDO U2F standard, making it hard to intercept thanks to advanced encryption techniques.

The reason for all this security talk is that if your login details are obtained by a cybercriminal, they can use your banking details to go on a shopping spree of note. Of course, before they start shopping, they would change your access so that you won’t be able to log on to your own account. Say bye-bye to your savings for that trip to Japan.

Should they obtain personal identifiable information (PII), they can steal your identity and create a whole new you without your knowledge. They can take over your social media, storage, email, and even online shopping accounts. All thanks to getting their hands on your login details.

Scary, right? Don’t worry, there are plenty of security options you can use.

Hardware security keys mean that you can still use multi-factor authentication even if you don’t have your phone with you. These can either be plugged into your computer using USB-A or USB C, or they can connect wirelessly. This is especially handy when using mobile devices, which use NFC to connect to these keys.

You first need to set up your security key on each of your accounts. Once that is done, simply connect the key and press the button on the key (where applicable). The browser then sets a challenge for the key, which it reacts to by using cryptography to sign in, thereby allowing access to the service

While Yubico and Google are the developers, there a number of companies that produce these devices to suit your specific needs.

Whether you choose to go virtual or physical, do what you can to secure your accounts and personal information.