Practising Safe Security

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Let’s talk about scams, baby, let’s talk about secu-rity, let’s talk about all the passwords and questions that may be…

You may have heard of the massive Twitter security breach that happened on Tuesday 15th July. To summarise, hackers got into accounts of some pretty popular peeps, including Elon Musk, Kanye and Kim Kardashian West, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Barack Obama. The message sent out was a call for Bitcoin investment to a particular address, and although the posts were taken down within minutes, plenty of damage was already done. The main issue though is that it’s going to be challenging to track down the funds, as it’s estimated that the scammers got away with over $100,000 (according to publicly available information).

If that’s got you thinking about your own cybersecurity, we’ve got a quick three-step method to ensure your accounts are as safe as can be, at least from your end.

Hey good lookin’…

The first cue is visual: look for any unusual activity. So important, yet so vastly overlooked, anything as simple as an attempted login, to a successful login from a different country, make sure you’re always up to date with your account notifications. Sites like https://haveibeenpwned.com/ and https://www.f-secure.com/ will let you know if your data has been collected/stolen in a mass data breach.

Not all action is good action

It’s not just a case of changing your password, provided you can still log in. Sometimes you’re better off putting in a couple of hours admin communication to get really secure. Each company has their own policies and recovery steps, and here are the big three that are most often used: Facebook, Google and Netflix. If you receive a message telling you that the sender has accessed your account, don’t click any links they send, as they might take you even further down the rabbit hole.

Once you’re logged in to your account, check your settings to make sure that everything’s in order and your emails are not being forwarded to someone else automatically. After that, if needs be, informed your family and friends that your account may have been compromised and not to click any links sent.

Double wrap if necessary

Last but not least, keep it all clean, in the sense of minimising the personal data you store online. Some attacks will happen regardless, so the less information that can be stolen, the better. Make use of password managers and try not to use the same or similar passwords across different platforms, even if you consider yourself low-risk. When it comes to hacking, everyone is a target. Two-factor authentications are pretty secure, but if you think yourself high-risk, then consider making use of VPN or Google’s Advanced Protection Programme.

So, remember: make your security questions so tough your own mother can’t answer them; update your passwords as often as your bed sheets; and if you have doubts, make sure you get everything checked out.

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