In an ever expanding digital age with more digital accounts for email, shopping, and social media, it is becoming a necessity to protect yourself from digital hackers. Hackers pose an immense threat to your personal information online, and can uproot your life in a matter of hours. So here are a few ways to protect your accounts from digital hackers.
The first, and most important step to protecting your information online is a strong password. Now, a strong password is not a combination of your name, pet’s name, and address. It is random letters that do not form words with a combination of upper and lowercase letters, symbols, and numbers, 15-20 characters in length. Another vital role, is to NEVER use the same password twice. This becomes a sticking point for many people. However, it is not as hard as it sounds, I promise! Using a password manager, such as 1Password, takes the pain out of the entire process. It has a mobile application for all devices, browsers extensions, and a customizable password generator built-in! So, the excuse of not being able to remember your passwords or come up with a strong password is no longer acceptable. Having your passwords wherever you go also cuts down on the number of times you need to reset passwords because you either don’t have them with you or remember them, which is always nice.
With the rising amount of digital attacks that have consumed everyday life over the last few years, most companies have implemented another layer of protection, Two Factor Authentication (TFA). This feature forces users to have a six-digit code when logging in for the first time or trying to change the account’s password. I use Google’s Authenticator app to make managing all of the codes easy. When setting up TFA, look for the QR code that is generated. Download Authenticator, tap the “+” button, click “Scan Barcode,” and scan the Barcode. It truly is that easy, and can save yourself from a digital disaster. I would enable this on ALL of your accounts that offer the feature, especially your email, banking, and social media accounts as they are often targeted first by hackers.
In addition to those two main factors, there are some additional steps to ensuring your security and privacy. The first being NEVER share your passwords to any of your accounts with ANYONE, period. Change your passwords every 45-90 days to prevent any potential chances of someone figuring out your password. Turn on email notifications of any requests to change your passwords, to monitor potential threats on your account, and take them seriously. Being aware of ongoing scams, and potential threats is also key in protecting yourself.
Online security will forever be an ongoing process. However, everyday people like yourself need to be aware of ongoing scams, and ways to protect yourself in a variety of ways. Keep in mind, it is much easier to take the extra time to lock-down your account than it is to go on damage control after a digital attack.