In this era, data breaches are a common occurrence. Well-known company’s such as Yahoo, LinkedIn, eBay, Zynga and Adobe have all had customer credentials stolen from their servers. We need to be vigilant to safeguard our data and in order to do that this guide will provide some tips on how to keep your account protected.
1. Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
2FA is a method of securing your account, it requires that you provide two pieces of information in order to login. The first information will generally be your password, the 2nd can be an OTP (One-Time password) sent to you via email, text or authenticator app. Without these two pieces of information you will not be able to login to your account. This would make it particularly difficult for a cybercriminal to access your account even if they have hacked your password. Most online accounts now provide this feature so be sure to enable this option to keep your account protected.
2. Secure Password Reset
Most websites allow you to reset your password in the event that you have forgotten your password and are locked out. You may be required to answer several security questions, these questions could be some of the following:
- What is your favourite colour?
- What country were you born?
- What sports team do you support?
If someone other than you wanted to gain access to your email account, they simply need to know the answers to your questions. Some questions can be straight forward for someone you know, for someone who doesn’t know you they may be able to guess these answers and then reset your password. This is why you need to select difficult security questions and have answers that are not easily guessable and only known to you.
3. Change Password Frequently
When passwords have been compromised it can take weeks if not months before it will start surfacing online or for the company to investigate and identify the breach. If you frequently change your password you are less likely have been compromised as you may have already changed it before someone tried to use it or before it had leaked online.
4. Use a Password Manager
A password manager helps you manage all of your passwords, it will also tell you how secure each password is and how often to change them. Some password managers can change most of your passwords with one click. The password manager will automatically create complicated secure passwords for you which you will not need to remember. When you need to login the password manager can auto fill the password for you. All of these features make using a password manager convenient and very secure.
5. Update Software
Keeping software updated is one of the most important things you could do to secure your account. The reason software updates are released are to patch up bugs or to add new features. Each time a new feature is added there is a chance that a new exploit could have opened up as a result which is why there is a constant cycle of new security updates. If you don’t update your software you run the risk that someone can gain access to your device from a remote location.