Aug 14 2012
No one likes getting hacked, whether it’s your social media accounts sending out bogus messages to all your friends, or even worse, someone stealing your banking credentials. There are a few blogs at the Bank Roll on this subject and they are worthy of your consideration and continued diligence. I wanted to write a follow up to my recent post, I Know Your Password because I feel this important subject deserves a repeat.
Sometimes gaining access to your accounts is easy to guess. From the information you post on Facebook to what’s available in the yellow pages, the “bad guys” or those with a desire to commit fraud, just need a little information to attempt accessing your accounts. Follow these three simple rules to avoid getting hacked:
1. Get Creative with Your Username
First let’s start with your username – don’t make it obvious! The standard username is the first initial of your first name followed by your last name. Instead, use an alias that makes sense to you. It would be easy to guess that my username is “LSelnick”, but harder to guess if I used JamesTKirk.
2. Make Strong Passwords
Next to protect is your password. Make “strong” passwords with a combination of lower and uppercase letters, numbers and special characters. This has to be something that makes sense to you and easy to remember – you cannot put your passwords on a yellow sticky note on your computer!
Here is an example:
Password security is good Business
Also, when you purchase systems or new equipment that comes with passwords and a default password – make sure the first thing you do is change the manufacturer default! The fraudsters know this is a way into your network. Point-of-sale attacks are increasing through this method.
3. Create Fake Answers to Security Questions
We all use security questions to help us remember passwords and add an extra layer of security to the process. The reality is a smart fraudster can guess – some call it social engineering – your password from a variety of sources including the same Facebook profile pages mentioned above.
Do not make the answers to the questions easy to guess. In fact, make the answers ones you know that have no relationships to the question. So your favorite color which is blue, you list pepper jack cheese. No one is going to get that from your BlogSpot profile.
People are posting more personal information online than ever before and fraudsters are using this hack accounts. Be proactive in protecting yourself against fraud. I would like to hear other ideas you may have on passwords and other security suggestions. If you have questions on other security related topics that you are interested in – please let me know and I will cover them in my next blog post.