There have been a lot of data breaches in the past and many of you who will be reading this may already have their emails and passwords compromised. Kindly change all of your passwords now. If you feel your emails or passwords have been compromised, check your email accounts using https://haveibeenpwned.com
Personal data privacy should be your personal mission! Review and secure your social media accounts.
Make a list of your accounts (Facebook, Twitter, email, etc.) and decide which ones you need and those you can eliminate.
Protecting yourself isn’t hard, but it does require a little effort.
1. MAKE YOUR PASSWORD LONG.
Hackers use multiple methods for trying to get into your accounts. The most rudimentary way is to personally target you and manually type in letters, numbers, and symbols to guess your password. The more advanced method is to use what is known as a “brute force attack.” In this technique, a computer program runs through every possible combination of letters, numbers, and symbols as fast as possible to crack your password. The longer and more complex your password is, the longer this process takes. Passwords that are three characters long take less than a second to crack.
2. MAKE YOUR PASSWORD A NONSENSE PHRASE.
Long passwords are good; long passwords that include random words and phrases are better. If your letter combinations are not in the dictionary, your phrases are not in published literature, and none of it is grammatically correct, they will be harder to crack. Also do not use characters that are sequential on a keyboard such as numbers in order or the widely used “qwerty.”
3. INCLUDE NUMBERS, SYMBOLS, AND UPPERCASE AND LOWERCASE LETTERS.
Randomly mix up symbols and numbers with letters. You could substitute a zero for the letter O or @ for the letter A, for example. If your password is a phrase, consider capitalizing the first letter of each new word, which will be easier for you to remember.
4. AVOID USING OBVIOUS PERSONAL INFORMATION.
If there is information about you that is easily discoverable—such as your birthday, anniversary, address, city of birth, high school, and relatives’ and pets’ names—do not include them in your password. These only make your password easier to guess. On that note, if you are required to choose security questions and answers when creating an online account, select ones that are not obvious to someone browsing your social media accounts.
5. DO NOT REUSE PASSWORDS.
When hackers complete large-scale hacks, as they have recently done with popular email servers, the lists of compromised email addresses and passwords are often leaked online. If your account is compromised and you use this email address and password combination across multiple sites, your information can be easily used to get into any of these other accounts. Use unique passwords for everything.
6. CHANGE YOUR PASSWORDS REGULARLY.
The more sensitive your information is, the more often you should change your password. Once it is changed, do not use that password again for a very long time.
7. USE MULTIFACTOR AUTHENTICATION. An increasing number of online services that revolve around sensitive information (such as Gmail, online bank accounts and Slack, a group communication system favored by many companies) offer the option for an additional step between entering your password and accessing your account. (Typically, a code is sent to the phone number you have on record.) It takes a bit longer to gain entrée to the site, but it’s a notable deterrent for someone trying to compromise your account.
8. DIFFERENT ACCOUNTS, DIFFERENT PASSWORDS. While it’s certainly easier to use the same password on multiple sites, remember that doing so can increase your vulnerability. Not only can hackers use that password to access other important accounts of yours, you’re also opening yourself up to scrutiny from a larger number of people trying to crack many different sites. If you regularly visit a large number of sites and worry you’ll forget which password to use, this next tip will come in handy.
9. DO NOT SHARE YOUR PASSWORDS. This seems like common sense, but a staggering number of people still freely give their passwords to others. Globally, says Norton, 31 percent of millennials are likely to share theirs. And one-third of the people who say they’ve shared their password in the U.S. have shared the password to their bank account. Don’t be one of those people.
10. BE CAREFUL WITH EMAILS ESPECIALLY SPAM. Approach your email with skepticism. Delete notes — especially those with attachments — from people you don’t know. And never click on attachments that seem suspicious, even if you do know the sender. Should you get a note from your bank or preferred airline, look real closely at the actual email address of the sender and make sure it matches the institution’s URL. And rather than clicking on embedded links, copy and paste them into a browser window, which will let you better see where you’re headed.
11. ALWAYS UPDATE SOFTWARE. It seems we’re notified almost daily about some program or another that requires an update. After a while, it’s seemingly easier to put it off. But by doing so, you’re putting yourself at risk.