Hacking is a phenomenon which you may be surprised to learn that many people are not aware of, even when they may already be a victim. Many people have fallen preys to dubious or mischievous cyber attackers. Majority of those affected by these attacks are often thought to be individuals who do not know a lot about how technology works – those who do not do enough to keep up with tech trends. However, the recent hacking of social media accounts belonging to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg serves as another reminder that nobody is totally immune to these attacks.
There is no telling what the consequences could be if your vital information falls in the hands of some criminal characters roving around the Internet. Here are some tips you can work with to protect your online accounts, if you happen to take security very seriously (everyone should).
Use a strong password
You will be amazed if you get the opportunity to see the sorts of passwords people use for their online accounts. It is possible that you may see passwords such as: password, ABCDEF, 123ABC or password123. These kinds are easy to guess. Experts advise users to use a combination of letters, numbers and symbols to create passwords. You may alternate between capital and small letters while also using numbers in creating a password, especially if symbols are not allowed. An example of this is ‘AE2fe&$d’ – that doesn’t mean you should go ahead and use this same one.
Change passwords frequently
It is good practice to change your passwords periodically. While a strong password will help significantly in keeping hackers away, it might not be enough to dissuade the stubborn types who may eventually succeed in their nefarious break-in, although it might take some time. This is why you will do well to set up new passwords regularly, especially for accounts containing very vital information. It is recommended that this be done every three or so months.
Do not re-use passwords
Hardly will you find anyone that has only one online account. Majority of us have many these days – talk about emails, social media accounts, online bank accounts, and so on. The temptation may be there to use same passwords on different websites, mainly for convenience sake. This is a risky thing to do. If you do this and a hacker gains access to your email account, you are in serious trouble. He can use that password to gain access to your other accounts associated with the same. It is obviously vital that you use different passwords for different websites.
Beware of phishing
Phishing describes a phenomenon in which a potential hacker disguises as someone else in order to lay his hands on your personal information. Such a person or persons may pretend to be your banker or the owner of a site you belong to, requesting you to supply or authenticate your password for one reason or the other. Do not give your password to anyone. If you must change your password, ensure you are on the right site before doing this.
Watch out for key-loggers
A key-logger is a piece of software that operates in the background and keeps track of all strokes you make on a computer keyboard without you being aware of it. The information collected is transferred to a hacker via the Internet. Key-loggers may be purposely installed on a computer or you may inadvertently install one when you download and install a third-party programs from unreliable sources. If you have an obsolete Java version on your computer, this may also be exploited to gain access to your vital information. You will need to have a good antivirus program at hand and ensure it is regularly updated. This may also help when it comes to how to fix a slow computer. In addition, make sure you use latest Java version and do not download utilities from undependable platforms.
Restrict information available to the public
On social media, it is helpful to jealously guard some or all of your personal information. A hacker may be able to break into your online accounts via the information you provide on your profile. The scary thing is that these details may be used to reset passwords by answering certain security questions such as ‘Where were you born?’ or ‘What high school did you attend.’ In addition to protecting this information from the eyes of the public, you should also make your security questions hard to guess from the information you supply.
Add extra layer of security
It is interesting to note that many websites now offer a feature called multi-factor or two-factor authentication. What this does is to request you to enter a code sent to your phone or email after you might have entered your password. This helps to ensure that if your password falls in the wrong hands, the attacker will still have an extra wall to break through and this might be impossible. You should check if this feature is available on any of the online platforms you use and activate it.
There you have some of the ideas that can help keep your online accounts safe. These are especially important for those who dread the nightmarish experience of having their accounts hacked into.