David Pogue of Yahoo Tech lays down 5 of the easiest ways to compromise your information online. We all think, “Oh, it’ll never happen to me.” Well it can. And we want you to protect yourself and your identity by taking a proactive approach to security, because the consequences can be severe.
Here’s what to do if you want to get hacked:
1. Make your password, “password.”
Believe it or not, the word “password” was the #1 most common for years, but has more recently been surpassed by “123456.” You may also choose passwords such as “qwerty,” “iloveyou,” or “abc123″ if you want your information compromised, as well.
But to avoid hackers, Pogue suggests using something like this: “For example, you can compose a password from the initials of a fun phrase, like the delicious password “29gofiabm.” (That, of course, stands for ’29 grams of fat in a Big Mac.’)”
2. Repeat your passwords
Use the same password (“password”) for your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Yahoo, eBay, Gmail, online banking, Amazon, and credit card log in. Go for it. Once the hacker guesses that your password is “password”, he or she is in every account you own.
Making your passwords more complex and varying them slightly is the obvious way to avoid this situation, but Pogue also suggests “installing a free password-management program like Dashlane or (for Apple products) iCloud Keychain.” These programs set the passwords for you and store them, without you having to memorize them!
3. Don’t use your cell phone number as a security measure.
Most people think giving up their cell phone numbers as a security measure on trusted sites such as Facebook, Gmail, Yahoo, etc. is actually compromising their cell phone number. It’s not…and here’s why.
There are three important security reasons that they ask you to provide your cell phone number for.
First, if you’re trying to reset your password because you forgot it or you just wish to change it, the alert will be sent to your phone immediately. You’ll know right then and there if someone may be trying to log in to your account if it wasn’t you trying to reset the password in the first place.
Second, the company will be able to alert you via text instantaneously if there is a company hacking issue or if you will be locked out of your account for security reasons and how to proceed.
And third, Pogue says, “some websites, including Google, Facebook, Twitter and Yahoo Mail, offer an optional, super-hyper-secure feature called two-factor authentication. That user-hostile term means this: ‘The first time you log into your account from a new gadget, you have to enter a code that the company sends to you on your cell phone.’ In other words, hackers using their own computers can never get into your accounts unless they also have your phone.”
In essence, it’s not a bad practice to let trusted sites use your cell phone number as a means to alert you for security reasons. It can save you much aggravation in the long run.
4. When a bank, PayPal, eBay, etc. emails you to inform you of problems with your account, go ahead and click the link to log in.
Trust us, you won’t be able to decipher which emails are legitimate and which ones are not. Fake emails have been circulating from banks, PayPal, eBay, Amazon, and countless others, telling “customers” that there are issues with account information, maybe that you need to update it, etc.
To get hacked, all you have to do is click the link, log in with your username and password, and voila! Hackers now have the username and password that you use to log in to that specific site.
When in doubt, open up your browser and log in to your account the usual way or pick up the phone and call to ensure that your account is normal, and totally bypass/delete the email altogether.
5. Pay for a “tech agency” to get access to your account.
Pogue states that no legitimate, big-name site such as Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, etc. will ever take money for technical support. Unfortunately, bogus “help” sites do.
These sites act as tech agencies and charge fees to help fix your accounts. And sometimes, people think it’s easier to pay someone to fix it for you and avoid all of the hassle. In all actuality, you just gave up your personal information.