These days more and more people are discovering the joys of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. But unfortunately not everyone is using these sites for legitimate purposes and hacking is becoming a real issue. Having your accounts hacked can be disastrous, especially if someone manages to access your online banking information. That’s why banks and companies like Google, Yahoo, and Facebook are constantly upgrading their security policies. That’s something, but it’s not enough. You should make sure your online accounts are safe.
Here are five simple tips that will help Protect Your Online Accounts
1. Use strong passwords
Using strong passwords is the best way to ensure your social media accounts don’t get hacked by a spammer or someone who wants to embarrass you. That’s why it’s so important to have a unique password for each of your accounts. Creating strong passwords is fairly easy – just remember to combine letters, numbers and symbols that require pressing the Shift key. It’s also a good idea to change your passwords once in a while, like every two months.
Using strong passwords to protect your online accounts is a good start, but it will not protect you from serious hackers that rely on malware like keyloggers to steal your data. If your computer is infected with a keylogger, the hacker will have access to everything you type, including your passwords. Protecting your computer will help. You can also use strong passwords when protecting your home wireless connection.
2. Protect your computer
Protecting your computer is a vital part of securing your online accounts. You need to have solid security software to prevent more advanced hackers from accessing your online accounts and other sensitive data. There are many security suites available today, both paid and free. As a rule, it’s best to have a couple of different security programs installed on your computer, for example an anti-virus and an antimalware application. In addition to that, it’s always good to replace the Windows firewall with a more advanced one. Remember that you shouldn’t have two anti-virus programs installed at once because they might conflict with each other. Update your security software daily and scan your computer weekly to make sure there are no infections. Protect your online accounts include protecting your computer as they both rely on each other for safety.
3. Keep an eye on running processes
Every single program, whether visible or hidden, launches a process that is displayed in the Windows Task Manager. So if you think that your computer is infected, you should check running processes. It’s also good to monitor running processes on a regular basis.
Windows 7 has a pretty decent task manager (press Ctrl+Shift+Esc to open it), but it’s still best to use a third party application, such as the free Sysinternal’s Process Explorer or Auslogics Task Manager. These programs provide more details than the built-in task manager and can help you nip malware in the bud.
Some infections have a habit of masking themselves as Windows processes, such as svchost.exe and lsass.exe. So it’s always good to check your processes on Fileinspet.com, a Windows process library, and check their path.
4. Download with care
Do you like downloading free stuff from the Internet? I bet you do. But sometimes downloading free stuff can be dangerous. While a lot of free downloads are perfectly fine and come from legitimate sources, many are infected. They are designed to wreak your computer and steal your data. Never download anything that looks suspicious and stick to legitimate free downloads, be it software, songs, or videos.
5. Be careful when using unprotected public networks
We all love using free Wi-Fi in cafes and libraries. While they are great for browsing the web and reading the news, it’s not a good idea to use them for online banking, shopping and sometimes even email. These networks are unprotected, which means that a hacker sitting in the same cafe can easily access all of your open accounts and steal your passwords using special software. That’s why you should always take extra care and watch out for any strange activity. GMail users are lucky, because GMail tells you if more than two computers are using your account at the same time – just look below your messages to access this information.
These tips will help you stay safe, but also remember to use your common sense and watch out for anything suspicious.