Am I Being Hacked?
Recently, I was doing a quick little security check on my email account, which I highly recommend everyone does. In the process, I discovered my email had been logged in for 3 months on a random android phone. I own an iPhone and so does my wife. As I’ve never logged in on an Android I immediately forced a logout for all devices and changed my password. But…how did I get hacked? I have two-step verification, wasn’t that enough? Turns out, it’s really not. Now, I’ve signed up for a comprehensive identity theft protection plan and have upped my email security and password protection.
In this blog, we’ll discuss steps to take and ways to set up security routines. These will keep you from getting hacked or recovering successfully if the worst happens.
Steps To Prevent Being Hacked
While Daggerhart Lab doesn’t provide data collection, processing, or distribution services as an agency, data protection is very important to us.
Despite the many data protection regulations in place around the US and worldwide, one still has to protect their data. Below is a list of suggestions that a lot of us do to better protect our personal data. If you’re missing any of these steps, it’s time to update a few things to keep your data safe!
Create a Data Security Routine
- Create a two-step verification process, at a minimum. It doesn’t hurt to alternate how you’re receiving your two-step verification occasionally as well. That said, if you follow too stringent of a pattern, that can help hackers figure out your next steps. So, be sure to have a routine, but not one that can be easily predicted when updating your verification processes.
- Check your email, social media, banking, and social networking privacy and security settings often. Facebook, Gmail, LinkedIn, and just about every banking app have ways to check where your accounts are logged in. We advise checking this at least once a month. If you see any login activity on computers, tablets, or phones that do not belong to you, force a logout on your account and change your password.
- Enable fingerprint or facial recognition on your computer, phone, tablet, and apps tied to your bank accounts or credit cards. One thing you can’t easily do from a remote location is use software to fake a face or a fingerprint. Whereas there is malware that will sift through hundreds of thousands of password combinations until they’ve hacked in. And again, using two-step authentication for any apps that have banking information tied to them is always wise.
Password Security Matters
- Change your passwords regularly, and make them very different, not just slightly different.
- Do not use the same password for multiple accounts, they should all be unique.
- Use difficult and impossible to predict passwords that have nothing to do with your personal life or information. Even if you think “there’s no way they could guess this is my 5th-grade teacher’s name or my parent’s old landline number” – you’d risk being proven wrong.
- Avoid saving your logins to your browser, use a service like LastPass, DashLane, or something similar to securely store them.
- We personally use LastPass because we enjoy the secure two-step verification app for every login, the way the folders are organized, and the ability to make some the privacy or accessibility specific to certain employees. This provides solid protection from the public, and from any operator error within our agency.
- Do not fill out seemingly innocent surveys online. They are often just ways to collect your information and make it easier for them to hack your accounts.
Use Secure Internet
- Ensure your personal wifi network is encrypted.
- If you are using your computer in a public place, it’s best to use your own wifi connection. Whether tethered from your phone or using something like a “MyWifi”, both are good options.
- You can really beef up your network and computer security by using a VPN.
Utilize Anti-virus Software and/or Encryption
- If you use a Mac, your computer is already encrypted and doesn’t need anti-virus or anti-malware software.
- If you use a PC, ensure you’re utilizing software that protects your machine from being compromised.
Keep your software and hardware up to date
- Doing software and hardware updates to your computer is not just for the purposes of keeping your machine running well. These updates often come with security updates that will help to continue protecting your CPU.
Utilize an Identity Theft Service
- If you are able to fit an identity theft service into the budget, it is highly recommended. These services cost between $150-$300/year total depending on the level of service you purchase. If someone has gotten ahold of sensitive personal information and attempts to use it, you will be alerted right away. If your data has been compromised, these services also help you recover your information far more efficiently than flying solo.
Protecting Personal Data is Very Important
- It’s easy to think to yourself that you might not have much to be afraid of. Especially if you don’t keep sensitive information in your emails. Some feel safe if they don’t have an attractive social security number because they have bad credit – they’d be wrong. Literally, all personal information can be used for insidious purposes and can hurt you for many years to come. From being denied loans to difficulties with background checks for jobs or housing, it’s crucial to protect your personal information.
Did You Know…
- According to multiple university and publication studies:
- There is a hacker attack on any given computer that’s connected to the internet every 39 seconds.
- 94% of malware infects a computer and or total network via something clicked in an email.
- 1 in every 36 mobile devices (phones, tablets, watches, handheld game consoles et al) has high-risk apps installed on them.
- Through Covid-19, with a lot of activities moving online. There has been an increase from approximately 1,000 to 3,000-4,000 complaints made to IC3, a division of the FBI otherwise known as the Internet Crime Complaint Center, per day.
- Boomers and Gen-X take security more seriously than Millenials and Gen-Z, as a result, are less targeted than younger generations. (Studies have been done into how younger generations have had to accept more day-to-day danger and damage in their life than former generations. Subsequently, they have accepted a certain level of pain and tragedy to be expected. In other words, younger folks have begun embracing a somewhat “meh, I’m gonna get hurt anyway so who cares” outlook. Woof, but that’s another blog for another time!)
Keep Your Identity Safe, Even if You Do Get Hacked
Stay safe out there in the ether. Remember your identity is worth a lot more to your personhood than it would sell for on the dark web. There have been many studies done that reveal you can buy someone’s identity for as low as $6,000 online. While I personally couldn’t just through $6,000 at literally anything right now, there are many others who can and will.
So, keep your data safe and sound by following the suggestions in this blog and you should be good to go!