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Do we make it too easy for hackers?

Do we make it too easy for hackers?
Keep your online information safe by following these easy steps

In a word, yes.  In the world of convenience vs. security, convenience seems to win out every time. This is putting your personal details at risk.

What sort of information would a hacker be able to learn about you if they managed to crack your email or Facebook password? Date of birth? Home town? Primary school? Personal details of members of your family? Pictures of places that mean something to you? Great! All the stuff they need to be able to pass those pesky security questions your bank insists on asking you!

Having just one of you accounts hacked can make a massive impact to your digital life and, by association your life online. By following these simple steps you can make yourself more secure online

Don't always use the same username

Using the same username  for many of your websites is like having a key that will open any lock. Once someone knows your username it's not difficult to search Google for any other instances of that username and see if they can gain access. The same applies to passwords, but you knew that already right?

Don't trust public/unsecured wifi

You have no way of telling if that unsecured network you've connected to is real, or whether it's set up by that shady looking guy in the corner with his laptop, ready to collect any unsuspecting users' details. Usually a PC-based web browser will warn you if it thinks it's getting redirected, whereas a mobile phone or tablet will not. Either way, it's really not worth taking the risk.

Don't trust strangers

Look at the information you're putting online on public sites, such as Twitter and Facebook. Would you tell that information to someone on the bus? No? Well don't put it online!

Use two-factor authentication

Banks have adopted this method for a while now, but many of your favourite websites now have the same security features. Instead of just relying on your password, you will also have to provide another piece of information to prove you are who you say you are. Google even use an app on your phone to provide the second piece of information. Use it!

Don't re-use your email password

This is hacker gold! Just look at all the information they can gain by breaching your email password. If there is one password to change regularly, this is it. Use a strong password, letters, numbers and symbols to make it hard to guess, and even harder to brute force.

Don't leave your passwords lying aroundMy handy password list

If you absolutely must write your passwords down, don't leave them anywhere near the computer they are intended for.

Use antivirus software

Why would you not run antivirus? It's your first line of defence against known problems. It should be the first thing you install whether you are using a PC, Mac or Android device.

Beware of false funny videos

Facebook at the time of writing doesn't filter malicious links. Often a video can try and redirect you to an infected site, or get you to download some malicious software. Think "Would my friend really post that?"  So beware of people you don't really know.

Make sure everything is up to date.

Hackers actively seek out vulnerabilities in software, not always in your operating system or browser, but in the plug-ins such as Java and Flash. These apps will prompt you to update, either by nagging at the bottom of the screen or when you first log on.  Windows will mostly keep itself up to date, but you can help by running Windows Update regularly. Security breaches happen more often on out of date computers.

Let's make online security a resolution for 2013 that we keep.

Resources:

Check how secure your own password is: https://howsecureismypassword.net/

https://www.microsoft.com/security/pc-security/password-checker.aspx

LastPass - You can use LastPass to create and store secure passwords, and it's easy to add in existing passwords. Of course, you need to make sure you use a strong password to log into the site! Other alternatives include 1Password and Dashlane.

 

If you are concerned about your organisation's network security or want to know more about secure passwords, give us a call on 0114 299 4050.

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