This is Part 3 in our series on email hacking, click for -> Part 1 or Part 2
Whether you’ve been hacked or not, everyone can take stronger efforts to protect their accounts. In the modern age, it’s no longer if you get hacked – it’s when. There are measures you can take, however to make it more difficult for hackers to gain control of your accounts. Follow these steps to keep your data and identity safe online.
Use Secure Passwords
Change your passwords on all accounts frequently, and they need to be strong, with at least 12 characters, including numbers, letters, special characters. Avoid any common information about you, or things that could be learned from your Facebook account, like address, kids’ names, pets’ names, birthday, etc. You should have a different password for every online account you have. A unique phrase that is creative and unpredictable is best, something like, il0veTr@vel, would be a good option.
Use Multi-Factor Authentication
You can set this up on your email, Facebook, banking sites, and other accounts as well. Every time you login, you’ll be sent a unique temporary code via text or to another email account, and you’ll need to input that to access your account. Hackers would have to also take your cell phone in order to login to your accounts if you set this up, so it gives a good layer of protection.
Use Secure devices
If possible, only access online accounts from your personal computer or device, while using a secured internet connection. Avoid accessing personal accounts from public computers, which could have been infected with malware, or might use an unsecured internet connection. If you do use public computers, always log out of every account when you are finished. It’s also advised to use your phone’s cellular data if you need to access a secure account, as opposed to public internet.
Protect your financial information
Though it’s convenient to have your credit card or banking info saved on accounts or websites you use, if your account is hacked, they now have all that information. Whenever you need to enter financial information on a website, make sure it is secure, so the URL starts with “https://”—remember that the “s” is for “secure”). And always log out once you are finished.
Never open suspicious emails
If you get an email from your bank or PayPal that looks strange, don’t open it. If you’re unsure if it’s real, call the office before opening it. Hackers have been known to impersonate banks, the IRS, and more to try and get your information. If you get a weird email from a friend with a link that you weren’t expecting, don’t click it. Call them to see if they sent the email before you open it. It is best to delete spam or dubious-looking emails without opening them.
Get account alerts
Some accounts give you the option to sign up for an email or text alert when your account is accessed from a new device or unusual location. This will instantly update you if an unauthorized person is accessing your account. As a result, you’ll minimize the amount of time they have in your account. If you get a suspicious alert, change your password immediately.
For your computer & devices:
- Update security software
- All internet-connected software and operating systems should be updated regularly, like email programs, web browsers, and music players. Sometimes an attack could have been prevented if your system was updated to the latest security measures.
- Install antivirus software
If you don’t already have security software, it’s a good idea to install a firewall and antivirus software and keep them up-to-date. If you need recommendations for software, let us know. These programs will help identify threats and help you remove any malicious software. Beware of scam software that may get you to download programs that actually contain malware.
Getting your email hacked is a scary prospect, but if you know how to keep your account secure and what to do if it happens, you can minimize the impact. If you have any further questions about protecting your accounts from hackers, please contact us.