Complex passwords can be hacked in this day and Internet age. How to protect your accounts from a hacker’s surprise? Here are over 50 tips and tricks to secure your accounts from being a hacker’s most enjoyable afternoon of swiping passwords and personal information.
Where to begin?
Do not sign-up for an account that doesn’t deliver anything in return. It looks like a Mercedes but it’s really a Pinto. This is when feedback and using your head pays off. Usually a useless Web site is full of users just waiting to use your password. A bottomless pit of usage. Once hackers get that password, they move towards your e-mail account. Next thing you know everyone on your contact list receives all kinds of spam and fake offers, a.k.a. phish tales. And unfortunately, most hackers change your password in the process.
Do not register for an account with poor reviews when it comes to a bad track record. Web sites try to assure security, even on non-secure sites. Don’t allow yourself to get sucked in. Listen to the reviews. There’s a reason people post them.
Do not allow children to sign-up for Web sites without your consent. You’re at work and they are online spreading all kinds of information. Kids are kids. Sometimes they just don’t get it. So, you better get it and make sure they do not sign-up for every site under the sun. They could sign-up for a site that leads to a hacker’s dream of easy access.
Do not sign-up for Web sites offering deals through your e-mail. Only open up e-mails that are familiar to you. Do not click on a link that suggests that your account has been hacked. Do not answer e-mails over a request to reset your password when you were not the one who requested the change. That’s one way LinkedIn was compromised. Travel the old fashioned way – through the site itself. Change the password and continue life.
Do not give out passwords to anyone on the phone. Your e-mail and Web site providers will not call you up over your account. Period. And if it does happen, ask for a phone number to reach them back. Google that number and the word “scam” to rule out any attempts at foul play. It’s your call so call them back. Chances are, when it doubt – do without. It could be a crafty hacker.
Do not talk smack about hackers. Hackers may have some serious computer know how and too much malicious time on their hands, but they are people too. And people tend to retaliate when it comes to trash talk. You don’t want this (or shall we say, that).
Do not use your credit card number online unless most needed. You could remove a credit card number from a Web site (such as Amazon) and then add it again when you are about to make a purchase. But remember to remove it when the transaction is complete. I haven’t done this but others have. I don’t purchase online to avoid potential hackers.
Do not write down passwords inside of a book with the word “passwords” written on the cover or inside. That means, do not write “PW” either. People are not that stupid. That book could fall into the wrong hands. If using a book to log passwords then use commonsense.
Do not share the Web sites in which you are connected to. If you want to brag then brag about the day’s events (literally). Not about how many Web sites you joined. Plus, no one cares.
Do not give into bullies. Hackers can be quiet bullies at times. Putting you on the spot until you break tends to get some hackers off. If anyone tries to force the password out of you, do what you should have done in the first place. Sign-off for the day. Hackers would then move on to someone else.
Do not create a duplicate password. Here’s where many go wrong. In order to remember they use the same password for two Web sites or e-mail log-ins. It doesn’t take a hacker long to figure out that Christmas comes early. That’s the first password they try – the same one that worked before.
Do not tell anyone what your password is. Write it down and place it where no one can find it but yourself. You are not depriving anyone when gaining privacy. However, let’s just say you turn up missing. If it makes you feel better than tell one person your password. This way they can track e-mails in searching for you.
Do not create passwords from the past. Once you create a new password – hold – “new” password. Meaning, remain true to the essence of the word “new” and create an original to allow the past to be just that – the past.
Do not create a password with a day, month or any time element involved. Such as “midnight”, “Monday”, or even an hour (“10oclock”).
Do not create dirty passwords. Need I elaborate? Have some class, don’t use (fill in the blank).
Do not create cute passwords like “U8b4me” or anything similar. “0i812” falls in this category.
Do not create a color for a password. Colors are pretty but not pretty smart for a password.
Do not create a phrase for a password. “Iluv2bme” just screams attention. And trust in this, your account will get noticed!
Do not create a password with any family member’s name, including yours. That also means do not use your second cousin’s name. Sure, you may think no one will figure out “Wilbur” but they could. Plus, remember, you don’t want to use just letters.
Do not create a password with a double-digit or use the same letter or number twice. It could make hacking easier.
Do not fall for the old CAPTCHA trick. You see a CAPTCHA and the first thing you think is “wow, what a secure site.” Sometimes it is just window dressing.
Try not bank online if you can help it. Online banking is used on a wide range but it truly doesn’t have to be that way. If there is one thing Internet users know it is that even online banking can be vulnerable. Sure, you don’t have to live in a bubble. But isn’t that what you are living in if you never leave the house to visit your bank?
Do not accept outright password ideas. Someone suggests you to use a specific password. Sounds hard enough to crack but guess what? There’s another person who knows your password. Not a good idea!
Maintenance, cell phones and the ITouch:
Run “clean disc’ to sift out any computer issues. Hack-lag can be a red flag. But the slow speed of the computer may have not been from a hacker, but a mere sign to clean the computer.
Clean out your computer by deleting unfamiliar files. There are those times when a hacker would attach more to a file than you could imagine. If you do this once a week than your computer just may run a bit smoother.
Cell phones and the ITouch should not include your passwords in storage. Be the sharpest tool in that shed.
What to do?
Do create a password with random letters and numbers. For instance, “8B6gO0d4I2M” is a good password. “X4PSLOH0e” is a sexy password. Check wikipedia for a bunch of information on passwords.
Do come up with crafty answers to the security questions. Everyone probably knows where your hometown is located. They probably know what your first school was. But what they most likely don’t know is who your favorite Uncle is. Reason for this? Make up a fake name and one they would never figure out. The same can apply to your mother’s “false” maiden name. Speaking of maiden name…
Do remember that once you give your mother’s real maiden name, you could open up an entirely new can of worms. Your mother’s maiden name has been written down many times on paperwork in the past. And unfortunately, sometimes, your mother’s maiden name is one way a business confirms your identity – on the phone or through Internet access. The hacker may need more information, however, if the hacker is savvy enough the maiden name may be all they need to convince others that they are you.
Avoid writing your password inside of a comment, even when it appears like any other sentence. But then again, remember, that password should have numbers and letters. If the password is good enough then that sentence wouldn’t make sense to begin with.
Avoid making connections with unfamiliar people who ask too many questions. Either they are bored or trying to figure you out. And when I say figure you out I mean figure out your password.
Avoid signing in with the same password day in – day out. Change the password to any social media site you venture to at least once a month. Sure, it’s a hassle but it is far easier than contacting the media site over regaining your identity once hackers get to it.
Avoid vulnerability by only allowing your friends to view your posts, images, and etc on social sites. Keep those privacy controls in, well, control.
Avoid bad hacking advice. Many social media site users usually think they know it all. Everyone wants to appear smart. However, not everyone is. Sift out the bad advice and toss that to the side. Only make time for useful advice that shares positive input, not a negative output.
Avoid posting photos or images that include your password. For instance, your password is “blueberry2016” (not a good one by the way) so don’t post a blueberry image with the date “2016” on the bottom. It’s a no brainer. And if you actually ate blueberries your head would be smarter than that to begin with.
Avoid talking too much. Once you open the door to chit chat about everything under the sun you set yourself up for slipping information unknowingly. A hacker defines an account holder by their actions. And the prime targets tend to spill their guts with hints of their password.
Avoid skimming foreign Web sites. If you can’t read the words than how in the world do you know what it being said. For all you know it could be a hacker’s site.
Search the latest news regarding those taking responsibility for any recent hacking jobs. You can learn much from reading of their techniques. Remember, one way to rise above hacking would be to get inside of the hacker’s mind and think like a hacker.
Search government Web sites on the latest anti-hacking advice. Internet security is something the government takes seriously. Or at least it appears that way.
Search the password you choose. If it pops up everywhere, choose another one. You may not be the only one thinking of that password.
Research the latest anti-virus programs. There are so many programs out there so be sure you Google the words “failed” when researching a specific program. Last thing you need is an non-secure security program installed within your computer.
Search the latest viruses out there to become better aware of what’s in and what’s out. You’ll find the viruses of yesterday do not work with your browser well, but they still work all the same. Viruses can break the chains around your hard drive and personal information. You should try to figure out the kind of playground hackers love to venture because they are the playgrounds you want to stay away from.
Google feedback over viruses to see just how the infected can disinfect. Not only is this wise, it can save you time should it happen to you. Serious time. When others are in the dark – thanks to a hacker/virus – you’ll be headed towards signing in much sooner.
Google “hacking advice” just to get an eye’s view of what hackers are up to. For instance, when I Google “hacking advice” I see that not only can hackers write about how to steal your Facebook account in two seconds flat, they can also post how to do it through video.
Hacking ethics are not always followed. Kevin Mitnick was prided on hacking Norad. But there’s one problem. He never hacked Norad – he personally confirmed to me that Hollywood did. When Anon (Anonymous) formed into action I requested Mitnick’s response. He was accurate when suggesting that some hackers are plain out ruthless and others just get off on figuring things out. Either way, whether ethical or not, a hacker could make a living one day as a security specialist or owning a security company one day (as Mitnick does). But it is the fanatic James Bond types with no rules that you need to watch out for because they live for watching your accounts die.
Almost there! You have the resources at your fingertips to go with that intelligent mind. If you follow these simple guidelines listed above then you are, as mentioned, almost to the promise land of Internet security when it comes to your password.
At last comes the bottom line. Would you leave the front door open at your home? If you wouldn’t than why would you leave the door open to your passwords and accounts? Ponder, think, absorb and process because there’s a whole lot of shaking going on, but it doesn’t have to be related to your Internet interaction.
Only when you feel secure about your passwords, it is time to say “yahoo!”