- Nancy Miller
5 Digital Security Tips to Protect your Online Accounts
How many of your passwords are the same? How many of your passwords follow an easy-to-guess format like QWERTY or 123456? If your answer is one or more, then you’re not alone. Security records show that 17 percent of passwords created in 2016 were “123456.” This means that almost a fifth of the population does not take their password security seriously.
Making an easy-to-guess password may be the simplest thing to do, but in the past couple of years, almost half of all adults have had their personal information exposed to hackers.
And peoples’ personal login information wasn’t the only thing exposed to hackers. Large organizations such as Yahoo and the U.S. National Park Service were among the many that fell victim to cyber hacking.
To avoid becoming a victim yourself, here are five digital security hacks that can help keep your online accounts secure.
1. Don’t use common login information
With the statistics above, it’s pretty easy to figure out how a simple, guessable password can put you at risk.
Always try to use complicated login information that has upper and lowercase letters and symbols throughout, and one that is at least 10 characters long. Doing this will boost the level of security for your online accounts.
2. Have multiple layers of security
With cyber hacking becoming more common and risky, many major websites are offering multi-layered security functions to help keep your accounts safe.
For instance, some websites will send you text messages or emails every time a new device tries to log in to your account. Other websites require you to put in your password and input a code that is sent to your phone or email.
These are some of many important security features you can enable to make sure that your passwords are safe and your accounts are secure.
3. Shut down your computer
If you keep applications and word documents open all night, you are putting your computer and accounts at risk of being hacked.
By keeping your laptop on for extended periods of time, hackers have unlimited access to your computer and a greater ability to install malware onto your computer or retrieve your personal data.
For this reason, it’s very important to shut down your computer when you are not using it. At the very least, you should close out all web browsers and documents before closing your laptop or allowing your computer to rest.
4. Don’t duplicate login information
Using the same login information for all your accounts is, undoubtedly, the easiest thing to do. However, it isn’t the safest.
The problem with having one password for multiple accounts is that you are putting all your accounts and personal data at risk; if a hacker gets into one account, then they can likely get into all your accounts.
There are plenty of online security tools you can use to store your login information for every site, log you in automatically and give you access to your passwords if you forget them or need to access them.
5. Use alternative security features:
Many devices, such as iPhones, now give you the option to access information by using your fingerprint, your voice, or a dotted shape. Using one of these features instead of the ordinary password or code can help take your personal security to the next level.
Don’t Be a Victim of Password Hacking
It’s true – even some of the most trusted companies, such as Target and Yahoo, have become victims of cyber hacking. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do what you can to keep your data and information safe. In fact, it may be the main reason to take these extra precautions!
Ultimately, it’s up to you to ensure that your accounts are secure. If you don’t want to be one of the 47% of adults whose accounts get hacked, then it’s time to take initiative to boost your cybersecurity and establish safe passwords and secure accounts.
Dr. Nancy Miller, dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science at Grantham University, has taught in three countries, both online and on ground, and has dean, chair and program director experience. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Engineering Physics, a Master of Business Administration in Finance and a Master of Science in Applied Physics, all from Texas Tech University. Dr. Miller earned her Doctor of Philosophy in Electrical Engineering with a specialty in Control Systems from the University of New Mexico. Dr. Miller leads the charge for cyber safety at Grantham!
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