We’ve all heard stories of the increasing amount of cyberattacks around the world. Shoot, some of us have even experienced it first hand! Maybe you’ve heard from your friend Cindy about how she had her email account recently hacked, and spam was sent out to all of her contacts from her personal email address. Or perhaps you’ve caught someone attempting to log into your email account and reset your password. The point is, more than ever, we should be taking extra measures to secure our online accounts. Especially our email.
71% of Americans are wary of hackers stealing their credit card or financial info. Considering how many cyber attacks happen per day in the US, we can understand why that is. US citizens also worry about the possibility of identity theft – 67%.statistic by hostingtribunal.com
The majority of people in the United States have multiple email accounts, and each of these accounts usually has personal information linked directly to them. Each email address has bits of information including your full name, address, birth date, contacts of friends/family, and sometimes buried in your accounts, are your credit card numbers and even your social security information. As you could imagine, it’s important to keep this information safe! You could get your identity stolen or have your personal information unwillingly collected by Data Brokers.
So let’s make it a New Year’s resolution to secure our online data and beef up security on our emails! Below are 3 easy steps you can take to keep your email from getting hacked in 2020.
1. Get A Password Manager
The increase in our online presence means the increase in accounts that we sign up for each year. According to an article by Ronnie Manning from Yubiko, 51% of people “reuse an average of five passwords across business and personal accounts”. This means that if a hacker finds out your password for one of your accounts, over half of the population can have their other accounts hacked purely due to the reuse of a password. According to Techxplore, “the average American currently has about 200 accounts that require some sort of password identification, and that number will rise to 400 within five years or so”. So how can you keep track of all of your passwords? And how can you easily come up with new, strong passwords to increase security? The answer – password managers.
A couple of great companies to check out are:
- 1Password – $2.99/month (personal account)
- Dashlane – $4.99/month (premium personal account. They also have a free version)
- Keeper Security – $2.49/month (personal account)
Personally, I have been using 1Password for about 8 months now, and it hasn’t let me down! They have a great desktop app you can download to easily access your password vaults, a Google Chrome extension you can add to your Chrome browser to easily input logins for frequently visited sites, a mobile app, and a web app. One of my favorite features is its password generator. With the password generator, I can be creating a new account somewhere, and the generator creates a random, secure password that I can use and easily store into my 1Password vault. Pretty easy, and awesome 😊
2. Set Up 2FA
What is 2FA you may ask? Will Kenton at Investopedia says, “Two-factor authentication (2FA) is a second layer of security to protect an account or system. Users must go through two layers of security before being granted access to an account or system”. This added layer of security has the user going through a two-part authentication process to ensure it is actually YOU who is signing into your account. This would mean after you input your initial password, you would also have to sign in using a 6-digit PIN, or even confirm through a push notification.
There are great 2FA apps you can download to help secure your accounts such as Duo and Authy. These apps are simple to use, and will increase security to prevent a hacker from accessing your account and information. Products like Memo will also include 2FA directly into the platform to help secure your communication and information.
3. Secure Your Wi-Fi
First things first, change your SSID (Service Set Identifier), aka your network name. This easy step can help because it makes it more difficult for hackers to guess what type of router you have. The default SSID of your router is set by the manufacturer, and if a hacker is able to tell what kind of router it is that you have, they will typically know ways to break-in.
Following in line with what seems like the overall theme of this article, the next easy step there is to secure your Wi-Fi network, is to create a strong password! Utilize one of the above password managers I’ve mentioned, and generate a password from the random generator. Stay away from generic passwords, but if you feel the need to create your own, make something unique as possible and use capitals, numbers, and symbols if you can (i.e.EpicPizzaLover650$) 😎
4. Use a VPN on a Public WiFi Network
We all spend time online on public networks, whether it’s at the airport, a coffee shop, a doctor’s office, or somewhere else. The problem is, these networks are very easy to compromise. One way to continue going to your favorite coffee house while settling in on your MacBook worry-free is to use a VPN. A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a service that you can sign up for (free or paid), which switches out your actual IP address and gives a temporary one so that hackers, and even websites, can’t identify you. Overall, this helps you stay anonymous while browsing the web and logging into your online accounts. Some good VPN options are:
5. Keep Your Computer and Smartphone Up-To-Date
I know it seems like a tedious task, as updates are always getting prompted on your devices, but there’s a reason for that! Typically, these updates are associated with things like bug fixes, added features, and new designs. However, these frequent updates also often include new layers of added security. Companies like Apple have their teams constantly improving security measures to combat hackers. Make sure to check your devices often for updates, and even have them configured to complete the updates during the night hours while they are charging and not being used.
If you’re interested in getting early access to Memo to help us test, iterate and provide real user feedback so that we build something you’ll truly love and trust, we welcome you with open 🤗
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