A recent demonstration of how things can go wrong gives us an opportunity to sit back and think about simple ways to stop hackers from taking away access to your online resources on the internet.
One of the most common and simple ways that people lose control of their accounts is through using the same password on most of their accounts. This is a bad idea in this age of data breaches. There are leaked databases published weekly on the dark web and this provides a rich collection of compromised credentials ready to try across a number of popular and potentially valuable services or a way to lend weight to “sextortion” scams.
It is possible to stop this threat cold with 3 simple steps.
- Be aware of the information you are sharing with other services.
Let’s face it. It is more a matter of “when” than it is “if” a service will lose control of its data and your information will be out in the wild and uncontrolled. I am a strong believer that companies do not deserve to be trusted with information that does not directly relate to the service. If you can’t see why a business needs the information, give it garbage.
- Use a password manager to create and track individual passwords across all your online services. These tools are incredibly effective in wrangling usernames, passwords, notes and account numbers. One of my personal favourites is Lastpass which is excellent at generating, remembering, automatically filling and updating usernames and passwords for the 200+ sites and services I use.
- Layer up with multifactor authentication (aka 2 Factor Authentication). Using a smartphone app or physical authenticator will defeat attackers that have your username and password and alert you to when your services are under attack. Have a look at the Authy, Google, Microsoft or Lastpass Authenticator Apps. Sure they might be an extra step to log in but what is a minor inconvenience for you is a brick wall for a hacker.
These tips alone could make your online accounts nearly impossible to compromise and could have saved many people the grief of losing access to services they use either for personal or business use.