Online accounts whether it is a Gmail, Facebook, Twitter or Bank account or any account which you signed up in a website, keeping your online account safe is more essential. One of our customer’s Gmail and Facebook account was compromised recently and he lost all potential information. So we decided to write about what are the safety measures you can take to keep your online account safe and secure.
Even though there are various software like free security for Internet are available for users, Security for internet is very essential thing if you have a lot of online activities including social networking and shopping. Research shows an average internet user has 25 password protected online accounts. Even though it is easy to use same password for all accounts , it is essential to have different unique passwords to all accounts and should be maintained safe and secured.
Here are the basic things which you should know to secure your online accounts.
Choose a Strong & unique password:
Do not use passwords which are very weak that can be easily guessed. The passwords which can be easily guessed and many people still use are: 123456, password, abc123 etc. Some people give the phrase for both username and password.
Always create a password which is hard to guess, but easy for you to remember. For example, you can use a random combination of your family members name, pet name, date of birth, favorite movie, color etc with some numbers and special characters. If your date of birth is available to public, never use it for your password. Try to keep the password between 8 to 15 characters length. The more the length, the harder to guess. Also, it is important to use a mix of lower case and upper case characters.
Ok, now you have created a strong password for your online account, what happens if you give the same password for all your online accounts? If one of your online accounts is hacked, then it is easy for the hacker to hack all of your online accounts which use the same password. So, use different unique passwords for each account. At least, never use the password of your online banking account for any other online account.
Beware of phishing mails:
You might have seen emails sent directly to you asking you to type in the login details of your bank account. No bank in the world will ever ask your login details in email. If you received any email from your bank, PayPal, or Facebook that says,
“Verify your account information immediately or your account will be suspended”, it is undoubtedly a phishing mail.
Criminals use this information in many ways for their financial gain.
NEVER ENTER YOUR USERNAME, PASSWORD, CREDIT CARD NUMBER etc without verifying with the sender by directly contacting them by phone or email.
Many phishing emails ask you to open attachments, which can then infect your computer with a virus or spyware. If spyware is downloaded to your computer, it can then record all your keystrokes you use to log into your personal online accounts and then sends that information back to the hacker who installaed it. So be sure not to open attachments in suspicious e-mail messages. Any attachment that you want to view should be saved first, and then scanned with an up-to-date antivirus program before you open it.
Always use a secured connection (https):
Enable “Always use HTTPS” setting for Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, Google and all the other online account services that support secure HTTP. This is especially important when accessing Internet over a Wi-Fi network because without HTTPS, anyone even if he is not a hacker, can hack your login details using a simple Firefox extension.
Use step-2 verification:
A step-2 verification system used by google for google accounts is most ideal secure system. In step-2 verification involves a unique verification system, means if someone tries to log into your Google account from a different computer, they’ll have to type an extra code that will be sent directly to your mobile phone as an SMS text message or over a voice call.
If you are using Facebook, enable Facebook Login Notifications. If Facebook Login Notifications is enabled, whenever your account is accessed from a new or unrecognized device, Facebook sends an email to your email address to notify you. You can also us Facebook’s Login Approvals feature for an extra layer of security. If you choose this option, Facebook sends an access code to your mobile phone via text message that must be used to login to your account whenever your account is accessed from a new or unrecognized device. Two factor authentication is available in most of these popular websites.
Confirm your mobile number to your facebook account:
Confirming your mobile number is one of many ways to enhance your account security on Facebook. This way, even when you lose or forget your password, Facebook will be able to send you a new one via SMS.
Lock your computer Screen or device:
You should always lock your screen when you finish using your computer, laptop or phone. For added security, you should also set your device to automatically lock when it goes to sleep. This is especially important for phones or tablets, which are more likely to get misplaced and discovered by people you don’t want to access your information, and home computers that are in shared spaces.
On many computers, you can lock your screen by going into your computer’s Systems Preferences. For your phone or tablet, locking your device with a PIN or pattern helps provide an extra layer of security for your data.
Create dual email accounts:
Everyday we come across various websites where we have to register to download their products or access more information from the website, but at the time of registration we are not sure about the safety of the website. So better you create a duplicate email id and use for these online website registrations. In this case, if your account get compromised it wont be harmful because you have not used your main original email account for signing up.
Also it is important that you should not link one account to another or use one account to login to another account.
Signing out of your online account is as simple as signing into your account. So you make sure to always sign out of the account before you close the browser tab or browser window. If you are using public computers like internet cafe or browsing center, remember that you may still be signed into any services you have been using even after you close the browser. So when using a public computer, be sure to sign out.
Manage your passwords effectively:
You can use password managers to store your online passwords, which are more convenient to use. It automatically enter your complex passwords for you and if anything goes wrong, it will allow you to quickly know what accounts you need to change. Do not save your passwords in a text file or word file and store it in your computer. Instead you can write down all the passwords in a paper and store it in a safer place which only you or your family members got access to.
Keep your computer clean:
You should have at least two antivirus and anti-spyware software installed in your computer and are up to date. Also enable secure browsing and automatic scanning of files before download, so that you are 90% trouble free of hackers.