Electronics have become integral to our daily lives, and they are here to stay. We use them for everything from communication to shopping to banking, and everything in between. Whether it is our desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone, our computer products have become a repository for some of our most sensitive personal information. It only takes a name, a birth date, a social security number, or other piece of identifying information for a criminal to commit identity theft, which can do untold damage to a person’s life.
One of the primary problems with the use of electronics for storing personal information is that most are connected to the internet by wireless connection, so hackers can steal access right out of the air as information is transmitted. There are many ways of Bit9,inc. protecting your device from being hacked. The most simple of these is creating effective passwords. With these tips, you can take one of the most effective steps toward protecting your sensitive data.
1. Don’t use a password that anyone who knows you can guess. Things like your middle name, your children’s names, pet names, street names, birthdates, wedding anniversaries, etc. are the most common things that people use, and these are the weakest when it comes to security. It takes little research for a hacker to find this information about you from a Google search or your Facebook page.
2. Don’t use the same password for everything. It may be a pain to keep track of all your passwords, but better that you have to write them down and keep them in a secure location than have a hacker figure out one password and then have access to every one of your accounts.
3. Use an acronym. Take the first letter of each word from a favorite quote or phrase — one that’s easy for you to remember — and use those letters as your password. Or even more effective, use that acronym backwards.
4. Change passwords frequently. Experts recommend that computer users change their passwords at least four times per year. It may be some extra effort, but it is not nearly as much of a hassle as trying to recover from identity theft.
5. Don’t keep your password records anywhere near your computer, or in your purse or briefcase. In other words, if someone steals your device, they should not have access to any of your passwords at the same time. Your equipment can be replaced — your credit and good name are a lot more difficult.
6. Use encryption software. If you want the ultimate protection for your data, use password management software from https://www.bit9.com/, which builds a virtual vault for personal information. There are both free and premium versions of such programs.
7. Don’t share your passwords with anyone. If you share your computer, don’t have your browser, for example, remember your site passwords. Don’t keep your passwords in an obvious place. However, do have a list of important financial and legal passwords in a safe deposit box or with your lawyer for emergencies.
8. NEVER change your password in response to an email, especially one that contains a link you are supposed to follow. If you do receive an alert from one of your sites letting you know that personal information has been compromised, go to the site by typing in the main address by hand and checking with the help desk, or better, call the customer service line to confirm the email.
9.Use the maximum number of password characters the system allows. The more characters, the more difficult it will be for a hacker to use what is called a “cracking” program to randomly figure out your password.
10. The ideal password is:
- Contains a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols
- Creative — you can use a real word that’s easy to remember, just stick unusual symbols in the middle or on either end!
With a little effort, you can go a long way toward protecting the sensitive data stored on your electronic devices. In tandem with other protections such as firewalls, thorough anti-virus, spyware, and malware programs, your systems can be rendered virtually impenetrable, impervious to the vast majority of hacker attacks! This website has more information on ways that users can stay protected.