Play safe online
Published on September 1, 2014
Innumerable cases of hacking have been reported in the media where in users have been stripped off their data and confidential records from their accounts and devices. Anyone can actually become a victim of hacking unless you know some crucial full-proof measures. The Community lists some of the best techniques to make sure your accounts and information remains secure and safe.
FORTIFY YOUR PASSWORDS
Password strength is vital to your frontline defence. Obviously your password should be a combination of letters and numbers, but don’t stop at the bare minimum. Use uppercase letters in random spots. Substitute numbers for letters. Mash multiple word phrases together. Deliberately misspell those words. Space them out. If you’re feeling particularly hard-core, create a random string of characters.
SECURE THOSE SECURITY QUESTIONS
The fact that the security questions are just a backup doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put the same thought into them as you have done with your passwords. Use numbers instead of letters. Mash entire phrases together into one word. Deliberately misspell things. Or best of all, as Kaspersky Labs expert Dmitry Bestuzhev explains, don’t directly answer the security question at all. The tips are quite simple but effective, he says, adding, since all social engineering attackers work based on the information of interest for the victim or the information related to the victim, it’s important to provide secret questions with the answers absolutely not related to it.
Bestuzhev says, for example, for the question: What is the name of your first pet? register an answer like sw3SwuTu
“When I bought my last car… The vendor provided me with a list of secret questions and I had to provide them with the secret answers they registered in their systems. So, instead of providing real answers I provided a password like the [aforementioned] one. They said I was the first customer to do this and they congratulated me,” Bestuzhev adds.
So, basically the rule is, Bestuzhev reiterates, never provide real answers for the secret questions.
DO A LITTLE TWO-STEP
Facebook and Google both offer the option of two-step authentication when you login, meaning you have to enter a secondary pin number which is generated and/or texted to your phone. It’s an utter pain whenever you’re logged out, but it’s also a safe guarantee that no one will be getting into your account without a heavy-duty targeted attack.
MANAGE YOUR PASSWORDS
A a password manager, such as 1Password, is your best friend. Not only will it automatically enter your complex passwords for you, but should anything go awry, it will allow you to quickly know what accounts you need to change.
SET UP LOGIN NOTIFICATIONS
Facebook will allow you to receive a text message anytime an unrecognised IP address logs in to your account. You may not prevent a hack, but if you act quickly enough, you can remotely log them out and re-secure your account before they get their hands too deep into your business. Gmail is also set by default to alert you if it notices anything particularly strange with your login activity.
While this will get you on the right path, just keep in mind that there’s obviously no single way to skin this cat.
1. What are your favourite security tricks?
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