Hacked! How to Prevent Your Computer from being Compromised
People are always getting hacked online. Hardly a week goes by where I don’t get a mass email from a friend tell me not to click on the link in their previous email or a message apologizing for the annoying wall posts on Facebook. As long as computers continue to exist, hackers will as well. The only way to completely get rid of it is to get rid of your computer. Good luck with that!
Here are a few things that you can do to prevent yourself from getting hacked.
Don’t have a “skeleton password”: The saying goes, don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. Nowadays, we might also say, don’t put all of your accounts under one password. It is good to have several passwords for different accounts. That way if one account is compromised, the hacker won’t have immediate access to other sensitive information.
Change passwords frequently: The longer you have a password, the more likely it is to get hacked. Some companies institute policies that compel employees to change passwords regularly—in some cases as often as every three to six months. Be sure not to change it so often that you start using passwords that are easy to guess or that are hard to remember. Obviously there are some accounts that probably don’t require as secure a password. You probably don’t need to be too concerned about your password for health and fitness websites and things like that. However, be sure to protect any accounts that can be used to access other accounts.
Take advantage of security features: Gmail now offers a way to doubly secure your Google account. Google can create a specialized Google password for your principle device (such as your laptop) which is a random jumble of letters and numbers. When you login from another device, Google will send a verification number to your cell phone to ensure that it really is you trying to access your account. Yahoo offers a seal that you can use on your computer to ensure that you really are accessing Yahoo email.
Don’t compromise your account’s security: Many people compromise their own security unnecessarily by divulging account information to others. I remember walking into my grandparents’ computer room and seeing their social security number, bank account number, and different passwords written on sticky notes stuck to the wall. I seriously doubt any of my relatives are into identity theft, but if they were, my grandparents would have been an easy target. If you must record your passwords in order to remember them, keep them in a place where they can’t be easily accessed by others—even close friends and family.
Avoid using keyboards: If you are extremely worried about your security, you can use a digital, on-screen keyboard in its place. Some computer viruses track keyboard functions to find out passwords to different accounts that users use. An onscreen keyboard can be used to avoid sharing your passwords with hackers.
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