Digital thieves are on the lookout to steal data, let it be personal information, social media, emails and anything they can get their hands on. Data theft is one of the major cyber crimes that is on the rise and therefore precautions need to be taken to ensure the safety of personal data. Following tips will prove helpful in maintaining security of your accounts.
1- Stronger is better
Keep strong passwords to your accounts. In addition, keep a method of creating strong passwords. Create a good mix of numeric and alphabets to ensure strong password and throw in a couple of special characters for good measure. You can even use software to generate a strong password for you.
1Password is an application used to manage and organize your online account passwords, ID’s and other personal and confidential credentials.
2- Sharing is caring: NOT!
Never share your password with anyone. If the situation requires it, change your password immediately. Password is the key to your online world, never compromise on that.
According to recent research, about 47% malicious attacks on online accounts are done by insiders. Experts advise not to use the same password for all your online accounts and always keep a strong password for accounts where you do financial dealings.
3- Check before you click
It’s a common occurrence to receive mails of the kind informing you that you have had a stroke of good luck and won a lot of money, or an intriguing mail saying something like “OMG! I can’t believe this is your picture!” Take our advice and don’t click on them. They are called scam mails, designed to trick people into giving information of their accounts.
To prevent yourself from click frauds, always use safe browsers and add-on who block or warn the user when they found any link suspicious or malicious. An interesting study noted that Internet Explorer was the most secure browser. The study still holds true for Internet Explorer 10.
4- Enable Two-Factor Authentication
Two-Factor authentication is a very reliable method of confirming the user’s identity. If your account provider has this feature to offer, turn it on from your account settings. It works on the following principle: in order to verify your identity you must tell something you know (password etc) and confirm something you have (cell phone etc.)
5- Encrypt your Data
In case of a security breach, a lot of valuable information like business or personal emails is jeopardized. In order to keep them safe from the eyes of an invader, encrypt your data before storing it online. You can use software or even small add-on for the job.
There are many encryption algorithms used to secure online data and used in many high security database around the globe. The most common among them is Secured Hash Algorithm which is also used in Digital signatures validation.
6- Resume from Checkpoint
Assuming you have lost your account to a hacker and can no longer access some very important data you were working on, what do you do? Either you begin from scratch, or you resume from last save point. As a smart move, maintain backup of your information to keep a last updated copy.
There are some software available in the market which ensure you that your data is safe from any mishaps and accidental loss. You should always backup your data regularly to make sure that you have the most recent copy of backup in case of any disaster.
7- Keep a plan B
Hacking is a real world problem and at the rate it is occurring these days, there is a good probability that you might get hacked even with your security on. In case of such a crisis, always know your way out. Keep information on the account retrieval and verification method of your respective service providers.
8- Die Daisy Chain!
Don’t link accounts. Linking of accounts only makes it easier for the hackers to gain access to other accounts once they break into any one of them. For example, if a hacker breaks into your Amazon account, it will lead them to your linked twitter account, which will lead them further on, compromising all that you have. This is called Daisy Chaining of Accounts.
9- Fake answers to security questions
Place you grew up in? Favorite pets name? Mothers maiden name? These are all questions asked to verify your identity. If you answer these questions honestly and the attacker is someone who knows you, he/she can guess the answers and obtain hold of your account. To avoid this from happening, always provide bogus answers to such security questions, answers that only you know.
Some forums and websites have very strict rules about security questions as they are one of the most sophisticated way of social engineering to compromise any account.
10- Uniqueness is the key
Always use different passwords for different websites. Keeping the same password for all sites increases the risk of total loss of data in case anyone of the website accounts is hacked. An example is to keep a format of password and change a few letters with respect to website. For example: Facebook password is “fbmYPa$$w0rd” and Google password is “gomYPa$$w0rd”.
These tips can help secure your account from malicious software and hackers but you will need to take preventive measures as the proverb says, “Prevention is better than cure”!. Do you have any tips for securing your accounts from online threats?