Last week I shared What to do if You’ve been Hacked. This week I want to give you some tips to help prevent it from happening. Unfortunately, nothing is foolproof. Inevitably, the more wise we become at protecting ourselves, the more cunning those wishing us harm become.
The majority of times we get hacked it’s because we clicked a link that uploaded a virus which opened us up to hackers.
This is the bad news, but there’s also good news. This kind of hacking is preventable, and here are some steps to take to stay safe online.
- Be wise. This seems basic, but so many times we just ignore our better judgement. How many of us have been sucked in by direct messages like these? “Have you heard the rumors your fiend is spreading about you?” or “This is a hilarious video just uploaded about you.” Stop. Think. Then DON’T click that link!
- Assume it’s a lie. About six months ago I got an email from an online company confirming a large purchase with my credit card. I knew I hadn’t made any purchases, but still had to fight the urge to panic. I took a step back and looked more closely at the email. I noticed several things that made me suspicious. I immediately did an online search for scams involving that company and came up with pages of recent victims. I contacted the company directly (not through the info in their email) and confirmed the email was a ruse.
- Never give out sensitive information. Let me repeat, NEVER GIVE OUT SENSITIVE INFORMATION! Companies don’t ask for bank account info, passwords or other information over the internet. First, if you’re a customer, they already have all of your information they need. Keeping up with personal passwords is a liability for companies.
Now, a quick word about passwords. I know you don’t want to hear it, but your password should be different for every account you have. If you’re like me you probably have dozens of accounts, so how can you keep up with all those passwords? Trust me, it’s not with sticky notes or a file on your computer.
Instead, take advantage of some wonderful programs. Some charge a small fee, others are free—all have the highest security rating available.
There are also blank booklets available for those of you who are old school and want something you can hold in your hand. I’ve seen them at local discount stores, as well as high end specialty stores.
Now it’s your turn, what are some tricks you use to stay safe online? Be sure to check back on Thursday when I’ll debunk some of the online safety myths we all have fallen for.
Don’t forget to join the conversation!