Wednesday, August 6, 2014

How to keep your password safe

Russian Hacker gangs have stolen more than 420 billion passwords from well known sites.  The internet has a growing threat of hackers from China and Russia that have government supporting these gangs into finding vulnerabilities in the US infrastructure and banking system.

Americans have to find a method to protect their passwords because of these hackers that find a way into your computer. Sometimes, the information is stolen by simply logging on to well known retail online; a recent example was the hacking into eBay a few months ago.  

There are methods of protecting your password and here are some tips:

The first tip is very difficult but it is the best option to protect your password;  change your password often; every month.
By constantly changing your password, hackers will have a difficult time getting into your system even if you purchase online using well known retail sites. 

Tip number two is in using internet browsers like Google that have a two step verification system in which when you log on, Google will send you a verification code by text which you will have to enter each time; you enter your account.  This is called two step verification, although it involves more steps to log on to your account, it is a good method to protect your account information on Google.

Third tip is in choosing passwords don't use personal information such as mother's maiden name, birthdates, consecutive numbers; these are obvious passwords and can be found on social media sites that we volunteer our information on online profiles, such as face book, Google profile, and twitter.   There are methods of keeping social media private by changing it from public to private.  Do not post birthdates, social security numbers, and family surnames on posts or profile; so that hackers can't mine your personal information.

Fourth tip use randomizer password sites that help create difficult passwords.  These computer generated passwords are created randomly with combinations of letters and numbers, usually are very long in length.  The only problem is that the passwords can not be forgotten, it would have to be saved or copy and pasted onto a saved word document or spreadsheet form.   These passwords cannot be forgotten because you will have difficult time entering site again.

Fifth tip, is that most passwords are stolen by opening phish scam emails; these emails are made to look like informative, marketing or financial banking customer service emails.  Many of these emails trick the reader into clicking onto a link informing them of an issue with their account, or purchase and adding a link where people can log on to their sites.  These emails trick people into giving their passwords and log in information when they click on link and enter information.  There are some emails that have key logger software that tracks the users online typing and browsing on the internet. 
The general rule to follow is to NEVER open emails that claim to be from banks, auction sites, retailers that ask for your password, and miscellaneous sites that you may have never heard of.   Beware of strangers emailing you or opening any links to unknown sites.   The best formula to protect yourself is to have a spam filter to delete incoming emails form strangers; and only open emails from known family and friends.   Beware of face book emails, you should check your face book and social media pages directly , don't click on links.
Banks, credit card companies do not send out emails to their clients regarding their personal accounts.  The best method is to visit the website directly by typing into the search address bar.   Never open a link!