This summer has been a season full of hacking incidents that have made major headlines. Thousands of emails from the Democratic National Convention were released to the public via WikiLeaks and hundreds of emails from the Republican Party were released via DC Leaks. Malware was also found in the payment processing systems of some of HEI Hotels and Resorts most popular hotel chains. The malware captured debit and credit card information like card expiration dates, account numbers, and the like.
When larger organizations are targeted by hackers, it negatively affects the individuals associated or registered with those entities. However, users can still take preventive measures in order to protect their information should an organization’s database become compromised. Below are five tips to avoid being a victim of hacking.
1. Users should not reuse passwords. According to Brain Krebs’ blog, Krebs on Security, password reuse is a “major problem.” It leads to multiple accounts being hacked by one individual. Users should create different passwords for each account using a unique combination of various letters, numbers, and characters.
2. Back up your information. “Typically, an attack means a loss of data,” says Bruce Schneier on his blog, Schneier on Security. “So good backups are essential.” Hacking prevention can also be reinforced with a skeptical attitude towards emails that seem odd as well as installing anti-virus software on devices.
3. Protect your email. Any time a password is forgotten, you receive an email to reset your password explains Chief Security Strategist Richard Bejtlich in his blog, TaoSecurty. Hackers with access to your email can reset any and all password accounts you have. This is why it is crucial to keep your email secure. This can be done by selecting a provider who incorporates a two-step authentication login and notifications of where and when your account has been accessed. The provider you select should also have experience with fending off intruders. Finally, be mindful of what you store in your email in order to monitor your information’s security.
4. Never click links in emails or texts from your bank. In an interview with Heimdal Security, Neil Rubenking, Lead Analyst at PC Magazine, states that while these messages may actually be from your bank, you should always login to your bank account directly in order to keep your banking information protected.
5. Never underestimate your opponent. Morten Kjaersgaard, CEO of Heimdal Security reminds us that cyber criminals are “exceptionally quick, very skilled, and very focused on the task at hand.” The key to their success is interacting with the user. Therefore, it is critical that users stay alert for suspicious activity and continue to build their own security to match hackers’ capabilities.
While larger entities and user platforms continue to implement new security measures against hacking, it is still important that individuals be attentive and remain proactive in protecting their personal information.