Big Brother is watching you and more importantly so are the Internet Hackers. If the big boys like Bank of America, Target and Home Depot, just to name a few can have their financial information stolen in mass quantities then what about you and me? How can we protect ourselves from cyber-attack?
Well I’m glad you asked! Think of it as a war, it’s the hackers against you and the strategy that you employ can make or break this destructive battle. There are several ways you can protect your information and privacy on-line. First and foremost be aware of what you’re putting out there for everyone to see.
Let’s start with your email, you should have at least two email accounts, one for your banking, billing and credit card sites and one for miscellaneous info like newsletters, social media and the like.
Never ever give anyone your password, and remember legitimate banking sites will never ask for your password and if you get an informational or alerting email, never log into the site using the clickable link provided in your email. Open your browser and go to the site as you normally would which is much safer! Once on the site you can check your messages and alerts.
Guard your username and change your passwords often. For example if a hacker can get into your email they will have a clear pathway towards your banking accounts by simply pressing forgot password and answering a few questions that you’ve most likely already provided the answers to.
Are you wondering how you provided those answers? Wonder no more my friend and just take a look at your online profiles; for example are you on Facebook, do you have your maiden name and high school listed, perhaps your hometown, your kids name, etc. Yes indeed these simple profiles that make it easy for old and new friends and colleagues to connect also make it easy for hackers to answer your internet security questions.
The same goes for all the other social media sites like LinkedIn, Google and many others. There is one way to combat this that can baffle any hacker and that’s to answer those security questions on your billing and banking sites with answers that have nothing what-so-ever to do with the question.
Question: what is the name of the high school you attended
Question: what city were you born in
Question: what is the name of your first pet
Are you following me? Make your answers something only you will know and that make no sense at all to anyone else. Remember you can always change the answer to your security questions at any time. In fact this is a good time!
Another tip would be to never use the same password for everything, don’t make it easy for hackers to get your information.
For Example if you go to http://www.realtor.com you can use part of the site as your password: hugmerealtor9295lover
Simply changing the four digit number every two months or so will make it harder for hackers and hopefully they will consider you too much trouble to bother with and go on to the next victim.
Always remember you are never alone in the dark with your keyboard, there are peering eyes over your shoulder alone in the dark with their own dang keyboard looking to score your hard earned money.
Most of us can’t beat hackers at their own game, however you can outsmart them every step of the way by minimizing the information you put out there for the public to see and keeping passwords and user names secure.
Good luck and safe surfing on the World Wide Web!