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Beat the hackers with these 5 simple tips

Even the most impenetrable servers can’t save you if security is compromised elsewhere. The good news is, there are some simple ways to protect yourself and keep even the most seasoned hackers out of your life.

At Worthers we always strive to keep our security systems a few steps ahead of the hackers. But even the most impenetrable servers can’t save you if security is compromised elsewhere. The good news is, there are some simple ways to protect yourself and keep even the most seasoned hackers out of your life.

1. Prepare your passwords

It almost goes without saying that passwords should be as complex as possible. That doesn’t mean they need to be impossible to remember though. The popular ones such as “whatismypassword” are too easy to figure out, but a unique phrase such as “MycousinsnameisNathan” can be memorable to you while staying out of guessing-reach of hackers, especially if you throw in some numbers and symbols and mix up lower and upper case.

For every online account or email you ought to have a unique password. You may have a complex password that is difficult to guess, but if you use it everywhere, then it could be compromised everywhere with one hack.

A password manager app (like Lastpass or Keepass) on your phone is a useful way to keep track of several passwords. Or you can write them down on good old-fashioned paper. The best hacker in the world can’t digitally access a book you keep in your bedside cabinet. It’s barely on the scale of possibility that someone will break into your house to steal your passwords. The old advice, ‘never write your passwords down,’ is now null and void, so long as you don’t leave them behind in a coffee shop somewhere!

2. Take up that two-factor authentication

If this option is available to you, then you should always go for it. Banks have used two-factor authentication for a while, but a lot of security systems now also give you this option. It adds an extra layer to the login process, requiring a would-be-hacker to type in a code that is changed every thirty seconds, or at least every minute. Normally the code is sent to your phone after a successful username/password login via text, an automated phone call or a bespoke code generator app. Two-factor authentication makes the security around your accounts much more formidable.

3. Let them forget you

When you are presented with the “remember me” option during login, leave the box unticked. Unless you are certain that no-one can get hold of your device, the saved details make it all too easy for someone to access your accounts. Friends may take advantage of this simply to write a rude status update on your Facebook. But on a shared work computer, or shared iPad, it can make sensitive information vulnerable to those with less playful motives. If in doubt, let the device forget you. Even if you do forget your password, there are usually simple steps to retrieve it.

4. Phish out that spam

Most email providers have spam phishing filters built in, which remove most harmful emails from your inbox. But it is worth checking that yours is running. Sometimes you can alter the automatic filtering settings so that emails with criminal intentions are more likely to be diverted to the junk folder. Even the best phishing filters won’t catch every culprit though, so you still need to...

5. Think twice before you click

Most phishing scams disguise themselves as legitimate companies. Some of them are getting very, very good at it. So ask yourself: Are you expecting the email? Does it look normal? Do you have an account with the company that is sending it?

There a few quick checks you can perform. First is the “from” email address - google it and see if it checks out. Second, you can see if the link (url) in the email matches the known address of the sender. Third, you can google specific phrases from the email and see if anyone else has reported it.

As a rule, beware of anything asking you to verify details. There’s no point in taking chances. If in doubt, you can always phone the company and ask them if they really did send the email.

13 June 2019

5 months ago | Education

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