How to keep your digital life hack-proof
Security and safety in online activities are of paramount importance, particularly as the internet widens. With recent data breaches such as those affecting Yahoo, Equifax, and Target, it never hurts to ramp up your account security across the platforms you frequently use. Here are three reliable pointers on how to become hack-proof.
Keep Your Passwords Private and Secure
Getting access to your password is the easiest way for hackers to compromise an account. The most common mistake most individuals make is using the same password for every online account they have. The best defence against this threat is twofold: use a different password for each account you own, and make your passwords reasonably complicated.
It is no longer adequate to write down your passwords in a notebook on your desk. A good rule is to place distance between a given password and its place of use. In other words, do not keep your Facebook password on a sticky note on your desktop. While doing so may make your life easy, it also makes it easy for anyone else to jump into your account unannounced, especially if your computer has no administrator password.
Furthermore, if you must share a password with someone, ensure it is an individual you trust entirely, ideally only family members and extremely close friends. Even so, you should consider changing the password shortly after the trusted individual fulfilled the requested task.
Use a Password Manager
As a result of much of the world going paperless, people use passwords more than ever, and human memory is limited. If manually remembering dozens of passwords is becoming difficult, search for a password manager that can store all your passwords. That frees you up to only remember one master password. Once you’re ready, you can find quality password managers for a reasonable price which will ultimately bring you peace of mind and security to your digital life.
If generating secure passwords overall is also trouble, use a free website like PasswordsGenerator.net or Random.org to get the job done. These websites do not store records of any passwords generated, so make sure you copy your new password to a secure location before leaving the site.
Avoid Phishing and Social Engineering at All Costs
Hackers are becoming ever more astute in their practices, which means you, as a consumer, must become equally cognisant of the nature of their attempts. While phishing is roughly as old as the internet itself, to adequately defend yourself, you must become acquainted with and learn to identify new phishing styles.
The term “phishing” encompasses any illegal attempt to obtain personal or financial information from you. Many hackers and bots these days will send emails appearing to be from friends or family members, asking you for personal details so they can send you “money” or something else in return. There are a few ways to know if these emails are illegitimate.
Firstly, check the sender of the email; if the address looks strange or unfamiliar, it is probably illegitimate. Secondly, broken English or incomplete sentences is a telltale sign. Thirdly, if they are offering to send you money, but are requesting private financial information from you, they are probably trying to take advantage of you. Remember to never click on any links in emails that look suspicious, and report it as spam and delete it immediately.
While it’s always useful to read up on personal digital security, the above tips are sure to keep the majority of internet security woes away from you. When in doubt about anything, remember to research the issue and find facts from at least three different sources. Personal security requires consistent upkeep, but the dividends pay evenly for years to come.