Imagine waking up one morning, pouring your coffee and checking your once fat bank account only to find thereâs $1.00 to your name. Even worse, your credit cards have been used to purchase computer equipment - in Burma. These atrocities happen with disgusting frequency, making the password method of protecting your accounts somewhat questionable. If the blame isnât on the password method, it resides within encryption technology used by your financial institutions.
Either way, youâve just lost your entire life savings and must convince your credit card companies and banking reps that you didnât purchase these items or gamble on the Riviera last night. After straightening out these massive attacks with reek of fraudulence, turn to these tips which teach you how to protect your passwords from hackers, wannabe hackers and those hackaholics who are so good, they have no internet access in their ice forts deep inside Siberia.
Never Store On Hard Drive
Personal data should never be stored on your computer, whether you love using QuickBooks for financial reasons or simply because youâre too lazy to type in your motherâs maiden name and would rather cut-paste that info. Hacking into your hard drive happens when foolish scammers enter your internet connection and begin peeking around your network, looking for files of opportunity. Once theyâve found your folders which are password protected, they can easily crack in because youâre dumb enough to place a text file on your hard drive with all passwords clearly spelled out. From that point, you have nobody to blame but yourself for any theft that occurs.
Should you find yourself forgetting numerous passwords, better ways to secure this information for later use exist, such as:
- Write down your password and stuff it into a locked box next to your desk.
- Type it onto a text file, print it out, and immediately delete the file.
Use Uncommon Strings
If all of your children are used as passwords, and youâve clearly listed their names anywhere on your hard drive, expect their names to be first on any hackersâ hit list. There are several passwords hints, clues or strings which you never use, period. They are:
- Family names, addresses or phone numbers
- Wedding dates or anniversaries
- Personal information like name, address or phone number
- Consecutive strings (i.e. 1-2-3, a-b-c, asdfghj) as theyâre usually first to be tried by hackers
- Anything shorter than 8 characters
- Always use special characters when possible. These can be #,!,% or something which your bank, email service provider or even Windows will allow.
- Avoid using words which are commonly used, like âcatâ, âdogâ or âfoodâ. If you find these to be necessary, intertwine them: âC&a#T!^@â
- Capitalize your first letter and your last
- Attempt to make password over 10 characters
- Never tell anyone your new passwords!
Changing Passwords Often
Another easy âinâ for hackers is when people have the same passwords over several yearsâ time. Should the hacker attempt or successfully install key logging programs which track every word typed, theyâll eventually figure out your password if used daily for 1 year. Take these tips when youâve had passwords which are stagnant and could be compromised:
- Change your password every 15-30 days. Seems excessive; considering it only takes 5-10 minutes to hijack your password, youâd definitely benefit from these changes.
- Make the next password completely different than your previous.
- Update security questions when updating passwords. Never bypass this step.
- Always change passwords for your wireless network, NEVER leaving the network open and ALWAYS enabling SSID. Companies like Ego Cigs have enacted this encryption already.
Never Use Same Passwords For Different Areas
By no means should you ever maintain one password for all banking, credit card, email or other secure areas. Since the hacker will definitely attempt to jack all information sources simultaneously, having your passwords completely different across the board will thwart attempts to duplicate their thievery. The same holds true for security questions which many companies now offer as secondary layers of login indemnity; never have the same answers or questions, even if the drop down menu seems to be limited with question choices.
If remembering difficult passwords across multiple financial institutions or other secure areas becomes difficult, keep your passwords in a locked box which only you have access to, and erase all instances from your hard disk so hackers cannot readily find this information to destroy your life.
Donât Let Wi-Fi Haunt You
When youâre at home, youâll be logged into your Linksys wireless router which cable internet or even landline internet providers will hook up for you. If youâve got no idea how to secure your network with secure password authentication or how to turn on SSID browsing, call technical support before making potentially fatal errors.
Since hackers are running out of password jacking options, theyâll try to take over your internet connection, send 3 billion emails using your SMTP server, and leave you with either the bill, shut down services or potential court injunctions for things you never did. Calling techies should always be your solution for securing wireless connections whether you feel your time is too precious for it or not.
Auto Account Locking
If youâve got many passwords, little time to keep them safe and believe password thieves could linger around you, set your accounts to auto-lock after âxâ amount of unsuccessful attempts. By making the password difficult and enabling this feature, you can nearly 110% guarantee nobody will compromise your account since any password with odd strings could take 50-100 attempts to crack yet the account locking feature could lock access after two-four attempts. Many financial institutions are enabling this feature as an added layer of indemnification for account holders since every hacker wants your money, and not much else.
Passwords will always be necessary until virtual retinal scanning through your computer camera is invented. These special code words are created for you, as a convenience, to allow the same access to private areas which walk-up requests would render; therefore, you always need to treat passwords with care, respect and privacy.
Using the tips provided and writing your passwords down with locked storage enabled will prevent future harm from coming to your computer, your files and your financial data which can be problematic in getting straightened out, especially if the attack looks like it came from your IP. Believe me - hackers are that crafty.