Just a week ago, someone tried to hack four of my emails and my Square Enix account.
While I’m pretty sure most people will be oblivious, we, at I.T. world can’t just turn a blind eye on it. It sent us a message about how hackers are becoming more drastic to compromise our accounts.
It gave me an idea to write this blog to shed some light regarding the importance of security and the measures that can be taken to make your accounts/devices secured.
Side note: I will only be sharing information that I have personally used to secure my accounts/devices. There is a myriad of technologies out there, but I do not want to overload your brains with them. We’ll still stick to basics.
My information isn’t important enough
I’ve heard this from a lot of people — “What will hackers gain from my details? I’m not a celebrity or a rich person so I don’t care about my privacy.” I beg to differ. Hackers can use any data they steal from you for monetary purposes. This can vary from hacking your bank accounts, making your devices unusable and asking you ransom money for it, or even getting intellectual property from you to sell it in the black market.
There’s countless of reasons why these bad actors are interested to get your precious data. And so, we have to be vigilant and do everything we can within our sphere of influence to protect it.
The following are super easy barely an inconvenience ways to protect your accounts and devices.
[Virtual high-five to those who got the reference]
Set lock code/s
Be it smart phone, laptop, or desktop — always have an unlocking authentication mechanism. It can be a passcode, password, pattern, fingerprint scan, retina scan, face scan, etc. (Combination of them, also a good idea!)
I know a lot of people who still like their devices to be free from these because they are very lazy to always have to authenticate to open their devices. While it may be a little inconvenience, this will be a good defense for physical intruders, like if someone stole your phone. There are a number of ways they can do to bypass it, but at least you did not gave it away too easily.
Install an anti-virus
Hackers can come from malicious programs/software that gets in your devices, and most of it can easily be stopped by an anti-virus. Freewares are available for those who can’t afford to go premium, too.
Anti-viruses are good defense against malicious data we come across in the internet. They also have beefed up databases of known signatures of these malwares and so it can easily be blocked and deleted, therefore, protecting you from any harm. Nowadays, Artificial Intelligence is also being used to check patterns of data and if they happen to exhibit behaviors that are potentially unwanted, they will be blocked, too. Pretty dope, right?
Side note: If you want free anti-virus, hit me up in the comments below or my socials and I will give you a link to protect your devices. 🙂
Ensure updated OS and AV
While we are in the software topic, let me just run through for a bit that we need to ensure apps and operating systems that we use in our machines are ALWAYS up-to-date. Vendors like Microsoft, roll out security updates regularly to ensure you’re protected. It’s not too much of work, too! Just set your updates to be installed automatically and it will run in your background smoothly.
Set strong password combinations
Who here still remembers when the dating website Ashley Madison was hacked? It’s still surprising how people use password combinations like 123456, 123456789, abcde, qwerty, etc. Rule of thumb — passwords should be a combination of UPPERCASE, lowercase, numbers and symbols. Refer to the diagram below to know how long it will take for bad actors to guess your password through your combinations.
We can assume they won’t persistently spend 100 years to try and hack you, right? 😉
Novice tip: Do not share your password to anyone, even your best of the best of friends! Also, do not write them in a piece of paper, please.
Pro-tip: Use strong password generators and/or software that will store your passwords like LastPass, etc.
While this may sound too jargon, MFA means Multi-Factor Authentication and 2FA means two factor authentication. It just means you need two or more levels of security for your accounts like emails or social media before you can use them. Imagine it as a security guard checking your bag and an x-ray scanner to double check your belonging.
MFAs/2FAs can be a one-time passwords sent to your phone or an authentication key from Google, Microsoft, and other brands. These are being used already in bank accounts in the Philippines for transactions — why not use it for other accounts, too?
Avoid Public WiFi
Now, I know most of you guys love free WiFi — but if you can avoid it and use your personal mobile data, please do so. Your activities and accounts can easily be infiltrated through public networks. So avoid these at all cost!
Avoid clicking links on emails
This is my last, but definitely not the least, in my bucket of security awareness for you guys today. Phishing emails and spam emails contains codes that can be used to infiltrate your device and wreak havoc, so be wary of these!
Extra tip: Enable “Find my iPhone” feature on Apple devices and Samsung devices, “Find my Phone”. You will never know when this will come in handy.
I hope I am able to share some of basic (to intermediate) tips on how you can secure your accounts and devices. I know there’s still a lot to cover and you can also share security tips below to educate me and others too!
Looking forward to hearing everyone’s thoughts on this. 🙂
Featured image credits: Ars Technica