Many of us go about our daily tasks without ever thinking about how the technology we carry can expose us. Our smartphones, tablets and laptops carry so much data and information about us, that it’s important to keep that data protected. Seeing companies like Apple Computer going toe to toe with the FBI about privacy should cause us to reflect on our own situation so we can make sure to lock our devices down.
Change your passwords
Are you still using the same password you used when you first created an America Online account back in 1998? Do you use the same password for all your accounts? It’s important to not only change your passwords fairly regularly, but make sure they are good ones. A lot of websites and services require you to have a strong password, but may still do not. Hackers employ techniques and software that allow them to “guess” your passwords. The more complicated a password is, the longer it takes and the harder it is for them to break it. Here’s an example of a low strength password.
That makes a horrible password. Even though it contains a number, it doesn’t have many characters. Let’s look at a better example.
Now we’ve added upper and lower case letters to the mix, as well as a special character (the exclamation point) and several numbers.
Set difficult security questions
For you bank accounts, make sure the security question answers are ones you can’t guess. If someone has known you long enough, or does enough research they may be able to click on “forgot my password” and guess your answers. From there they may be able to gain access to your crucial data. Security questions are designed to help you recover your account if you forget your password. They are meant to be questions only you know the answers to. Another trick is to write an answer for your security question that’s unrelated to the question (requires a good memory). If the question is “What’s your dogs name”, make the answer the make of your first car or something else that no one would guess.
When you’re logging into a site, make sure you have a secure connection. This is typically when you see “https” in your web browser address bar. It signifies that you have an encrypted connection between you and the site that your device is connected to. This makes it a lot harder for someone to intercept your data as it travels across the internet to it’s destination.
There’s a myriad of things you can do to keep people out of your accounts, but if you do these three things you will have increased your protection and made it just a bit harder for someone to gain access to your sensitive data.