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Cybersecurity: How to Protect Yourself

According to Hack Proof Your Life Now! “Security experts estimate that fraudsters send upward of thirty-four trillion e-mails per year—ninety-four billion per day. Ninety percent of all spam carries malicious attachments or dangerous links aimed at stealing your money.” Do you feel like your e-mail, passwords and phone or tablets are all safe? Are there measures you take to make sure you are protected from hackers? Here are some tips on how to keep your devices and YOU safe!

1. Password Manager: To avoid using the same password over and over, you can use a Password Manager, which allows you to store your passwords in an encrypted file on your computer. The service can cost between $10-$30 a year and will protect your numerous passwords with one master password.

2. Passwords Themselves: Make sure your passwords are not weak. DO NOT use “12345” or the word “password” as your passwords! The trick is to create a password that is both easy for you to remember but difficult for someone else to hack. You can create a mnemonic password like you did as a kid when you learned the planets, “My Very Excellent Mom Just Served Us Nine Pizzas (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto). In this instance, you take the first letter of each phrase to create your password, so it becomes “Mvemjsunp.” To further protect your password, be sure to add some characters as well, such as symbols, numbers and uppercase letters.

3. Two-Step Verification: Whenever you can, be sure to enable a two-step verification process. When you log into your account, it will prompt you to select where to receive a one-time passcode—either to your phone or e-mail. Once you receive the code and enter it into the site you are using, you will have access to your account. This process helps protect you from hackers since it requires both a password and a temporary code. Thus, even if a hacker knows your password, they cannot get into your account because they do not know or have access to the verification code.

4. Be Careful Using Free Wi-Fi: If you are out and about and have to use free Wi-Fi, do not log on to your e-mails, make any online purchases or enter any other financial information as this is an unsafe connection. To avoid this, you can turn your smartphone into a temporary hotspot. This way you don’t use the free Wi-Fi and instead have temporary, but secure internet access.

5. Privacy Settings on Social Media: All sites give YOU control over your profile and posts. You decide who sees what. If you have someone reach out to you to “friend” them or “follow” them, be sure you know who they are first before you accept their request. You also can decide your security level and how much information you put on your profile. Do not include your phone number or address. Also, be cautious of playing games on social media sites like Facebook. These are considered third-party apps and might have different privacy settings but the same access to your profile.

Just like in any situation, pay attention to your surroundings. If you are not sure something is legitimate, don’t click on it! If you find that someone has hacked your information, please let us know ASAP, so we are aware of the situation and don’t send anything personal to an e-mail address or transfer money into an account that has been compromised.


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