Over the last few months there have been some pretty scary headlines popping up across news sites all over the Web. Just to name a few, they include: LinkedIn Hacked: 6.4 Million User Passwords Stolen from LinkedIn Website, 250,000 Twitter Accounts Hacked,and How a Hacker Used Amazon and Apple Loopholes to Destroy a Tech Writer's Online Life.
So, ABC News recently sat down with Google Security Princess Parisa Tabriz and McAfee's Security Expert Robert Siciliano to discuss key security tips that can help you protect yourself and all your devices.
1. Use Different Passwords: We all know that it’s easier to remember just one password. But as we saw with the large-scale password breaches recently, having one password is obviously the worst decision. If the password and e-mail address that you use for one account gets in the hands of the wrong person, they can use it on other sites. So, be sure to use different passwords on different sites.
2. Create Strong Passwords: Make sure passwords are hard-to-guess passwords. Siciliano suggests that you use a mix of upper and lowercase letters and numbers, and change your most important passwords at least once every six months. Many online platforms require this today. He also suggests using password-manager software so you don't have to memorize them.
3. Set Up Two-Factor Authentication: Tabriz says everyone should set up two-factor authentication or two-step verification on a Google account or similar safeguards on other services. The service provides an extra layer of security as when you sign into your account it requires you to enter another code.
4. Don't Reveal Too Much on Social Media: "Fifty years ago, the bad guy was the KGB. They were the mole on the inside. Today we, with social media, are the mole on the inside," Siciliano said. He says we are providing enough information via social media profiles for hackers to figure out our passwords or questions in the password reset tools. He recommends being very careful about what information you share.
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5. Protect Your Computer: Make sure if you are using a Windows PC you are using an up-to-date anti-virus or spyware program. Whether you are a Mac or a PC user, make sure your operating system is up-to-date with security patches.
6. Secure Your Wireless Connection: Be sure you’ve protected your home wireless network with a password and you have changed the default SSID. When connecting to public Wi-Fi networks, be safe about what information you’re sending over it.
7. Shop at Safe Sites: Make sure the site has a padlock icon next to the address and it has an HTTPS address before entering your credit card number. Siciliano suggests keeping a close eye on your credit card bills for suspicious charges.
8. Think Before Your Click: Clicking links is second nature on the Internet, but Siciliano says be careful before clicking. "Anybody can create a template that looks like a bank and make it easy to click links and then access my computer or online account," he said. Be vigilant about what links you click in an e-mail, especially when they come from companies.
9. Password Protect Your Phone: Your phone is now a computer and can have as much personal information as your computer. Both experts advise you password-protect smartphones.
10. Pay Attention: When you are using any Internet service or Web browser, you have to be smart!
Edited by Braden Becker