In recent months, I have become more and more concerned about personal and business security for my various web accounts and devices. Essentially, a few security situations have popped up with family and friends as well as having read articles on people who experienced hacks. In one recent instance, a family member was coerced into believing that I had been robbed and in jail in Mexico. See this video and the FTC website for "the Grandparent scam".
Check out some of these incredible stories that should concern you:
- this one is very close to what happened in our family... "Mugged in Madrid" emails were sent out from a hacked Gmail account. This one is lengthy but worth the read.
- a Twitter employee with administrative access gets a dictionary hack by having the common word "happiness" as a password, celebrity Twitter accounts get taken over as a result
My recommendations aren't complicated, just the basics:
DONT TAKE IT FOR GRANTED....the hours and heartache and stress that come from the one time you get hit will more than balance out the time and effort you take over time to have good security habits.
SECURE YOUR PHONE AND TABLETS.... Your mobile devices are certainly a target. When all of your passwords, accounts, bank statements, etc. are on a desktop in your home, it is somewhat more secure physically. Now with mobile devices proliferating, access points into your personal information are with you in your car (which can easily be broken into as has happened to us twice in the last few years), in your pocket, everywhere you go and is easily loseable as I have done more than once with my phone.
IMPLEMENT STRONG PASSWORDS.... I like OnePassword. It definitely takes security to a new level with the ability to create 40+ character non-dictionary passwords and distribute across all of your devices easily. There are numerous password managers out there. Use one! Don't be the guy that uses one password for everything from social accounts to bank accounts. If someone cracks or steals one account, they have your whole life!
WATCH WHERE YOU CONNECT... Don't punch in passwords on open networks in coffee shops, airports, hotels, etc. where your activity can be logged by third parties.
DONT BE NAIVE ABOUT POSTS ON FACEBOOK....As a cousin who worked in military counter-intelligence recently said, if you wouldn't be willing to shout it out in a crowded restaurant, don't post it.
DONT CLICK ON LINKS AND ATTACHMENTS IN EMAILS....even from people you know, be super careful.
RUN VIRUS SOFTWARE AND ROUTINELY SCAN....we like Malware Malybytes, there are numerous apps to choose from on CNET.
DONT FORGET YOUR WIRELESS SIGNAL AT HOME....if your password is too easy and gets punched through, a lot of information is wide open to prying eyes.
This is clearly not a comprehensive list so what else should we put here? My approach has largely been gathered by talking to family and friends and reading articles. What additional advice does everyone have? POST IT! I want to learn from as many folks as I can.