Friday, June 10, 2011

Preventing Hack Attacks: Tips for Protecting Yourself From Hackers

I'm not exactly the savviest person when it comes to the internet and computers. I don't know how the Internet works, I just know that somehow I put in a URL and it takes me from point A to point B in seconds.

With the recent hackings of so many big name companies and organizations, I started to question whether my ignorance was really bliss. At the very least, I feel like I should be concerned about my personal information when the programs of companies and organizations like Amazon, Sony, Bank of America, Voice of America and CitiBank (among many others) are being hacked. How (or why) are hackers hacking into what I would expect to be secure networks? How safe is my information, really?

Of course, there's only so much a person could do to protect their information. But I've always been a firm believer that doing something, even something small, is better than doing anything. So I asked with some of the people in the Accessory Genie IT department.

Updating your security software on your computer is always a good first step.  Good software companies update on a relatively frequent basis to make sure you're protected as much as possible from the latest emerging threats.

Also, when you're going to a website that contains sensitive information, make sure you are using a wired or, if necessary, a trusted wireless network as often as possible. Public wireless connections are very vulnerable to hackers.

Although you would think this goes without saying, use strong passwords and not something easy and simple like 12345 (yes, people do this.) Add in numbers and lower and upper case letters when possible, with the goal of making your password easy for you to remember and difficult for others to guess. Also, don't use the same password for important data, like your banking account, for other things like Facebook or your email. Most experts also recommend changing your passwords every six months. There are also a number of programs available that help you manage your passwords, and are also a great extra layer of protection from keylogging viruses.

Monitoring your accounts daily for suspicious activity is also important. If you feel like your account may have been hacked, change your account information immediately to something unrelated to your original password.

Last but not least, make it a point to educate yourself. Like I mentioned earlier, I don't know much when it comes to hackers and the Internet. But the more you know, the better you are able to protect yourself from getting hacked.

Food for thought


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