Every day hackers are increasing their numbers. One article states that cyber-crime damage costs are expected to hit around $6 trillion annually by 2021. That figure is outrageous. Hacking can take place on a large or small scale, but either way it leaves one feeling violated and helpless.
The statistics and articles surrounding hackers and their antics can seem overwhelming. The good news is that there are ways that you can go about protecting yourself against hackers and reduce your chance of becoming a statistic.
Two-factor authentication is an extra layer of security. This method requires not only your password, but also something that only the user would have on them or only they would know.
Two-factor authentication can include things like a personal identification number (PIN) or a password or pattern. It can also include something such as an ATM card or phone. Using something biometric like a fingerprint or voice print is also a good two-factor identification technique.
*Don’t back up sensitive data or your phone online
The cloud is a great storage device and it is supposed to be secure. For the most part it is. Unfortunately, there have been reports of such storage devices getting hacked. We are not suggesting that you don’t take advantage of the amazing storage options out there to you, it is just highly recommended that you not store sensitive information on them. The best option for sensitive data is to store it on an external hard drive.
*Don’t link accounts
It is commonplace for Facebook login to allow (or even require) you to link your account with many apps and websites. It is often times difficult to separate accounts. Thankfully Facebook does allow for two-factor authentication so there is some level of protection. If possible, it is best to use separate accounts for everything. It will also benefit you to see what accounts you have linked to your Facebook and Twitter accounts and remove the ones that you no longer use.
*Security questions and misinformation
There are a multitude of websites that require you to enter a security question/answer in order to authenticate yourself. At one point this made sense. However, today, these questions can easily be answered by anyone who knows how to use a search engine. If a website requires you to enter this information try coming up with unique responses that are not relevant to the question. If you are asked, “What is your mother’s maiden name” try something unrelated like Burrito. It doesn’t have to make sense, but it does have to be memorable to you.
Feeding misinformation to the internet is not a bad idea in general. Our lives exist on social media and with a single search someone can find a lot of information about you. Birth dates are an example of something that can prove to be a huge security risk. Simply move your birth date forward a day or two and maybe add or take away an extra year on Facebook. You can also simply choose to hide the birth date altogether.
Another tip to keep in mind with Facebook is to not use the “family” function they allow. You already know who you are family with and a smart hacker could easily follow the web of connections to gain access to information like your mother’s maiden name.
Technology, Internet, and social media, they are all amazing tools that truly do connect us to each other and can make our lives easier. We just need to take the time to be smart users. Make yourself less susceptible to hackers by taking the time to educate and be methodical in your approach to using the internet.