Everyone has heard the horrific stories of hackers breaking into some big company’s database and stealing their customer data, usernames, and passwords. After they get that data, they turn around and try the usernames and passwords on a variety of different websites. Unfortunately, for most of us, we have rather bad habits of reusing the same passwords for all of our apps and online sites or use weak ones, which puts us all at risk.
The reasons companies are being hacked and we are hearing about these data breaches are the same reasons people rob banks: Hackers can make money on the black market selling usernames and passwords. So how can you protect yourself online?
Tip 1: Never Use Common Phrases or Words
Using a single word with numbers or a short phrase is easier to hack than using randomization. Randomization is where you incorporate a variety of letters, special characters, and numbers to create a unique password. While this might seem overwhelming for most people, it is rather easy to come up with a random password using this method:
Write out a sentence, like “Sally sells apples at the farmer’s market on Thursdays.” Now take the first letter in each word, ssaatfmot, and toss in some capitalization with some numbers, SsaAT7m0t, and add an exclamation point or other special charters, S$aAT7m0T!, and you should be all set. (But please do not use this example for your password!)
Tip 2: Create Difficult Passwords for Sensitive Data
Protect your online accounts, including email, by using unique and difficult passwords. Never reuse the same password for multiple accounts. You should have a different password for each email account, bank account, and so on.
Tip 3: Enable Two-Factor Authentication If Available
Some banks and other online apps offer two-factor authentication. This will require you to not only enter in your password, but also some randomly generated series of numbers, letter, or other such combination which is delivered to the device and only used once. For instance, Google offers two factor authentication and sends you a random number code to enter after entering your password and answering a second piece of information, like a security question.
Tip 4: Invest in a Password Manager App
Password manager apps can help you create random and strong passwords for every online website you access. Plus, the app can store the passwords in encrypted data mode, so you do not have to remember them, the next time you access the site. You just need to make sure you have a very strong password to protect all of those stored passwords, as well as enable password protection on your smartphone, tablet, or computer where the password manager app is installed.
Hackers will continue to go after password data since it is profitable for them. Everyone needs to protect themselves and the best place to start is by ensuring we all use strong passwords.
Lastly, if you ever have a device fail, do not discard it without having it looked at by a professional data recovery service in Toronto, like us, here at Taking It Mobile. We offer a variety of onsite and in-lab data recovery options to help recover data from non-working devices, as well as ensure data is removed correctly. Contact us at 888.877.5002 today for more information.