Yesterday was not a good day for me. I found out my old email, which I use for most of my personal social media accounts, had been hacked. It was likely a result of the recent Google Heart Bleed virus that swept the internet earlier this month. As a result of my email getting hacked, at least one of my other accounts was tampered with as well. Overall, I wasn’t a very happy camper when I finally figured out what was going on midway through my workday.
Prior to this, I had naively considered myself to not be at risk to web viruses. I don’t download strange things or stream shows from sketchy sites, so how would a virus get to me? I’ll admit I still don’t quite understand the how behind it, but I definitely have realized that everyone who uses the internet runs the risk of getting hacked.
One of the safest ways to avoid hackers is to keep your passwords strong and unique for each type of site and also to change them often. While I have been using strong passwords on accounts I open recently, my older accounts such as this particular email address and my Facebook/Twitter that I’ve had since high school still had easily decoded passwords, raising my risk of getting hacked.
The best way to protect your accounts is to use unique passwords that are difficult to break and to change them often. But let’s be honest, none of us do that, right?
Instead, try creating a few unique passwords and using the same password for a particular type of accounts. For example, use one password for your social media accounts. Then if one of your accounts becomes compromised, you only have to change the password for those few accounts rather than everything, which you’d have to do if you used the same password.
Another tip is to use abbreviations rather than whole words. You can do this pretty easily. Whether you use the first letter of each word in a short sentence, the abbreviation for your favorite store or snack, or a friend’s initials, avoiding dictionary words makes it much more difficult for your password to be hacked.
Most importantly – keep your passwords for all banking and financial accounts different! Having your twitter account or even email hacked isn’t a huge deal but if you’re credit cards or bank accounts are compromised, you’re in for a huge headache. Better safe than sorry when it comes to your finances!!
Do you have any password security tips? Have any of your accounts been hacked? I’m curious how everyone handles such a stressful situation!