Wednesday

10 Must-Know Security Tips to Protect Your Content, Websites, Social Media Accounts, Email Accounts, and More

With the New Year here, it's important to know some safety tips for your online accounts.

It seems more and more businesses and people are getting hacked. The most recent I heard of was a savvy pro-marketer. All his computer files, programs, and other data was actually held ransom. He paid the hackers $500 to get everything back.

Sounds crazy, right?

Well, unfortunately, this is a way of life today. These hackers have sophisticated programs and techniques that can hack almost anything.

And, once in your computer they will have access to your banking information, your credit card information, all you data, all your clients data, and so on, and so on.

Introducing a cyber attack to your computer can be as simple as downloading software on the internet or clicking on a link within an email.

In fact, with home automation (another online ‘convenience’) these hackers can get into a lot more than your computer and online accounts. The can virtually enter your home.

According to an article at DailyMail on cyber attacks, the criminals don’t “have to use sophisticated techniques to break into home appliances, including your front door.” (If  it’s on the system.)

But, I digress. Let’s get back to protecting your online accounts, including your email.

10 Safety Tips to Protect Your Online Accounts and More

1. This is critical – make sure your password is at the very least 10 characters. And, be sure to mix them up. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about: use capital and lower case letters, symbols, and numbers. And, super important, don’t use any kind of sequences, like abc or 123.

2. Another critical measure – change your passwords on a regular basis. Don’t wait until you get a warning or you’ve been hacked. Cyber criminals are smart . . . and clever. Given enough time, they can figure out your password.

3. Don’t make your security answers obvious. If the question is “Who is Batman’s sidekick?” You can be sure a hacker will guess Robin. If the question is “Who is Donald Duck’s girlfriend?” Don’t answer with Daisy. If it’s common knowledge . . . it’s common knowledge.

4. Keep your passwords unique. This means don’t use the same password for two or more accounts and don’t reuse passwords. If you have trouble coming up with unique passwords, you check out a tool that PC Tools offers: https://identitysafe.norton.com/password-generator/

5. Check with your email service provider to see if they offer a login activity feature. Both Gmail and Yahoo do. This tool will give you recent login activity. Knowing if unauthorized users are in your accounts is a huge deal. It allows you to take immediate security measures.

6. A BIGGIE – Always, always, always sign out of your internet accounts. Whether it’s your email, your social media accounts, you’re websites, online groups, or other, be sure to log out when you’re done. A number of online services, like Google and Yahoo, allow you to stay logged on, even after you move on. This is an unsafe practice. Log out when you’re done.

7. Keep all your passwords safe. It may be convenient to list them on your computer, but don’t do it. Keep a ‘hard copy’ list or keep it on a zip drive (see below for a warning).

8. Don’t open emails you’re not sure of. If it looks suspicious, delete it. And, don’t respond to any emails that request personal information or request you change your password.

9. Secure your computer with antivirus software. It may not prevent a high-tech attack, but it should prevent low-end stuff from happening.

10. Protect your mobile device too. It’s a wise move to use a password on your device and you might want to lock it also.

Note: When using a zip or external drive, if you keep it plugged into your computer and you’re attacked, the hacker will take over your zip drive also. This is what happened to the pro-marketer I mentioned earlier. So, if you do use an external drive be sure to backup your work and then remove the device.

A couple of extra tips or at least my thoughts.

Don’t use cyber automation for your home.  Referencing the DailyMail article again, General Manager of Proofpoint’s Information Security division David Knight says, ‘Many of these devices are poorly protected at best and consumers have virtually no way to detect or fix infections when they do occur.”

Use the cloud. There are a number of offsite services you can use to keep your data safe from loss. Services like Carbonite.com and Dropbox.com backup your data on a regular basis. This way if you get hacked or something goes wrong with your computer, you won’t lose vital data.

I hope these tips help keep you ‘cybersafe.’ Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, or maybe lots, lots more.

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MORE ON CONTENT MARKETING

Content Marketing – Tim Ferriss on Blogging
Take Blogging Up a Notch (It’s more than just writing text)
Email Marketing – The Number One Step to Powerful Email Messages That Really Lead to Opens and Conversions (The Welcome Message)



4 comments:

Susanne Drazic said...

Great tips, Karen. Thanks for sharing them.

Karen Cioffi-Ventrice said...

Hi, Susanne, I'm glad you found the safety tips helpful. It sure is scary out there, but knowledge does help.

Sherry Ellis said...

Good advice. Thanks for sharing!

Karen Cioffi-Ventrice said...

Sherry, you're welcome! Thanks for stopping by!