Yahoo! Inc. announced they were alerted that at least 500 million of their users’ information, including names, email addresses, dates of birth, telephone numbers, encrypted passwords and security questions and answers, was stolen in 2014. Luckily, no bank account or credit card information was compromised.
Yahoo is not the only company that has been hacked in the last 10 years. Companies like Anthem, Target and J.P. Morgan Chase have also been recent victims of data breaches. With thefts like these on the rise, it is important to know the steps to take to keep your passwords and personal information safe. We have compiled some helpful online security tips to keep your identity and funeral business information secure.
Keep your passwords safe.
The first line of defense in online security is a strong password. When creating a password, try to use the full amount of characters the site allows. The longer the password, the harder it will be for someone else to guess. Sprinkle in some random symbols, capital letters and numbers, but don’t make obvious spelling substitutions. For example, P@ssw0rd has character changes, but is too easy for a computer to guess. Instead, consider using a password that is a full sentence, but contains some spelling errors and symbols. This type of long, complicated password would be especially difficult to guess.
Besides having strong passwords, another important part of cybersecurity is keeping them safe. Never use the same password for more than one website or account. If a hacker happens to get into one account, they could easily get into your other websites if you use the same password. Never write your passwords down anywhere that a stranger or someone else could find them. If you can’t remember your passwords, consider utilizing a reputable password manager program.
Set up account alerts.
If the website offers two-step verification, consider opting into it. If you, or someone else, are trying to sign in to your account from an unfamiliar IP address, your account will prompt you to enter a key code that will be sent to your mobile phone via text, voicemail or through the site’s mobile app. This two-step process creates an extra layer of security that makes it harder for hackers to get into your accounts. If they happen to get their hands on your password, they would still need your mobile phone to get into your account.
Phishing scams are a very easy way for people to get their hands on your information. Hackers often use emails that look and feel legitimate, but are really leading you right into a trap. Phishers will replicate company emails and include color schemes, templates and even real names of people that work in the company. They will use fear to prompt you to act quickly, stating that you will lose access to your account if you do not enter your information. Most of these scams will be after your passwords, pin numbers, social security numbers or your bank account information.
To avoid a scam like this, never click on the link provided in a suspicious email. Even though it could appear to be safe, the link could actually be leading you to a malicious site. Always type in the URL for the website the email appears to be from. If the email prompts you to enter information in order to avoid losing access to your account, call the company to verify this is actually true. And never send sensitive information via email or enter it on a website. If you believe you have fallen victim to a phishing scam, be sure to keep a close eye on all of your accounts for suspicious activity.
Today, there are many different ways hackers can obtain your information. But, by following these easy tips and being alert while conducting online activity, you can limit the risk of becoming a victim of online theft.