by Kimaya Singh
While celebrity photo leaks might seem like a somewhat distant or detachable topic for many, it is essential to recognize the ease with which many hackers access email, cloud, or photo storage accounts. This is evident in a statement Apple released in which the company responded to allegations of a faulty security system for iCloud. After an investigation, Apple found that it wasn’t a fault of the iOS protection, but rather “a very targeted attack on user names, passwords and security questions, a practice that has become all too common on the internet.”
So in order to stay better protected, here are a few tips to consider-
1. Don’t make your password obvious.
While this seems like an easy enough tip to remember, it is one that is often disregarded. Avoid using biographical details in your passwords such as birthdays, names of pets, and places you’ve lived.
2. Stop sharing passwords.
Many people find it convenient to use the same password or a variation of it for multiple accounts; this is called “sharing.” Sharing not only gives hackers access to more than one account, but also helps them predict passwords to other websites.
3. Consider a password manager.
While sharing simple passwords isn’t a good idea, remembering multiple passwords that are unique doesn’t seem too appealing either. This is where password managers like LastPass or Password Safe come in. Programs and applications like these store your passwords online so that you don’t have to remember each individual one. The only downside? One master password unlocks them all so make sure to remember it!
4. Change your passwords once every six months.
Make sure that you’re changing your password more than once a year- the more frequently, the better. While it can be difficult to remember a new password so regularly, it’s considerably beneficial for you in the long run.
5. The longer the password, the better.
Similar to biographical details, having a short password not only makes it easier for someone to brute-force guess, but it also makes it easier for hackers to predict other passwords.
6. Keep your system updated.
Simple programs like Acrobat PDF Reader, Microsoft, and Java are all heavily abused by hackers, making them easily penetrable if not updated regularly. Update your software and if you aren’t using it, delete it. Keeping programs you don’t use or apps that you haven’t opened in months only increases your risk of being hacked through them.
7. Install an antivirus program.
If you’re really wary of getting hacked, install an antivirus system such as Norton or McAfee to protect your computer against any viruses or hackers.
8. Be careful of what you click.
When online, be aware of cookies, pop-ups, fake advertisements, and the plethora of other unsafe links. If something seems sketchy, stay away. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Similarly, don’t believe every spam email you get about winning the lottery or open every link that claims it will redirect you to pictures of you from your past life.
9. Not all downloads are safe.
Similar to being cautious when it comes to clicking links and opening emails, be careful of what you download to your computer or your phone. Not all software is safe and not apps are good for your phone’s security.
10. Turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when you don’t need them.
Keeping your Wi-Fi and Bluetooth activated on your phone makes it all the more easy for hackers to penetrate your phone’s security so make sure to turn both off unless you really need them.