Five Things You Can Do Now To Be Unhackable and To Protect Your Social Media Accounts

Just as people have developed the habit of always locking doors and windows before leaving the house, consumers must also regularly keep their devices and data secure.

I sure have implemented methods to keep my accounts - both for work and play - safe from anyone who might bother to get hold of them without my knowledge. For instance, I use two-step verification for my main Google accounts and I've subscribed Facebook's SMS notifications every time my account is accessed on a new browser or device.

Cyber attacks have been predicted to worsen this year as hackers*slash*identity-thieves use more advanced techniques to infiltrate networks. And with more of our personal data and transactions happening increasingly online, now is the opportune time to make sure you’re doing everything you can to keep your online actions, information and funds protected. To help remind consumers of the best ways to stay safe, Intel Security recently announced the 5 Habits of Practically Unhackable People [source].

Mr. David Freer, VP Consumer APAC, Intel Security says: “With more countries moving towards increasing connectivity in systems and devices, initiatives to keep consumers protected during these developments are paramount and timely. However much can still be done to encourage consumers to adopt habits that will ultimately make them less vulnerable to cyber attacks and be their own human firewall.”

According to Intel Security, the 5 Habits are:

1. Think before you click - Treat online security with as much attention as you would your personal safety.

We click and tap hundreds of times a day. It’s such a muscle memory, that sometimes we click on things without properly looking at them. Because almost 95% of all hacks in 2013 were caused when users unknowingly clicked bad links, one could easily argue that the love of clicking is the root of all online evil. That’s why the National Cyber Security Alliance works to help everyone STOP. THINK. CONNECT.

Case in point: The largest high-profile leaks in recent memory all began with employees clicking on email links that were laced with bad software that clung to their system.

2. Use HTTPS everywhere (if possible) - Practically unhackable people insist on using HTTPS everywhere they can on the web because it is safer.

Every web address starts with either HTTP:// or HTTPS://. The difference? HTTPS is more secure and actually loads faster too. Sites - especially those for banking and finance - that begin with “https” instead of just “http” use encryption to protect the information you send. Look for this level of security on sites where you plan to enter login and other personal information.

3. Manage passwords - Always use strong passwords -- but don’t just memorize them, use a trusted password manager.

First, your password should be strong. If you don’t know what that means, take a look at this website.

Of course, while people know what makes a password strong, they don’t use them because they’re hard to remember and create in the first place. The trick is to not remember, or memorize them at all. You do this with something called a password manager: a program that creates, remembers, and enters your passwords for you. There are a number of these programs out there, and you should find one that works for you.

4. Use 2FA all day, every day - A strong password is good, but adding two-factor authentication is much better.

2FA (Two-Factor Authentication) is a special, one-time password that is texted, or generated from an app, usually on your phone. With 2FA, even when someone steals your password, they can’t access your account. For more information on 2FA, see this fantastic explanation from STOP.THINK.CONNECT.

In short, 2FA is an extra layer of security that is a best-practice all websites should offer. But not all do.

5. Know when to VPN- A VPN protects you from hacks by making a kind of secret encrypted VIP tunnel for only you.

Here’s a scary secret of the Internet: anyone with a little know-how and $100 could buy equipment to see all your web activities on a shared network. Your traffic, passwords, credit card numbers, every key you press, and even (gasp) your emoji’s! When you’re using an Internet connection abroad, in a hotel, or in a café, a VPN protects you from this by making a kind of secret encrypted VIP tunnel for only you.

Not everyone needs a VPN, but here are two common examples of when and why you should use one:

Casual: Using free, public, unprotected (i.e. no password required) Wi-Fi in a hotel, café, airport, etc.
Professional: Accessing a corporate network or server at your office while traveling abroad.

Do you find this information useful? Share the post now on your Facebook and Twitter accounts and save a friend or a loved one from being attacked by bad people online.