I read an article yesterday that said if you have a combination of uppercase, lower case, numbers, and symbols, it takes nearly 500 years for a hacker to get your password.
Last Friday evening, I got an email from Twitter saying my account may have been compromised. I often get emails like that from spammers pretending to be banks or PayPal and attempting to get information. I never click on those.
The same goes for Twitter DMs that claim someone has a photo of you that is…well, shocking.
So I wasn’t sure about the Twitter situation and decided to check the site’s blog. Sure enough there was a post indicating up to 250,000 accounts may have been hacked. There were other stories about it too.
The first thing I needed to do was change my password. Simple really. Then I disabled Java on my browser – something I’d been meaning to do, but simply put off because, frankly, I’m so careful, I wasn’t worried it could happen to me. Note to self: get off the high horse.
That got me thinking about online security in general. If you’re like me, you naturally assume a certain level of comfort partially because our devices are either with us and/or in a safe place (like our houses). And hey, our doors are locked.
That’s a naive way of looking at things.
We live so much of our lives in public. And it’s important we take the time to ensure our security and privacy levels fit our needs – online and off.
Here are a few simple tips to do right now (you may have heard them, but they’re worth repeating:
- Change your passwords (and keep mixing them up). Make them harder to figure out. One suggestion is to use a phrase you remember and add in some numbers and symbols. Have more than one or two and never use the default. Sure, it’s a hassle to switch them on multiple devices, but it’s worth it.
- Avoid temptation. Don’t click on everything see, especially if sounds enticing. Check the subject line of emails – closely – and make sure you know and trust the sender before clicking on any links.
- Use your judgement – your friend’s account may have been hacked, so if it’s out of character, don’t click on that Tweet.
- Adjust your privacy settings so you’re not baring all to all and sundry if you don’t want to.
- Clear your cache and cookies. It’s amazing what interesting things you may have picked up along the way.
Some of us feel we live behind a deadbolt online – when really it’s more like an online hook and eye.
Do you have any other suggestions to protect your security online?