As people worldwide are spending more time using online, so are more hackers, aiming to exploit any known vulnerabilities to take advantage of people. This isn’t just apps on the phone and computer – this extends to any smart devices, as Ring and Wyze have been hacked in the past month alone. As part of our Take Security Seriously 2020 initiative, here are some recommendations we have to stay safe and secure online:
Create Strong Passwords
A weak password is an easy vulnerability for hackers to exploit. Aside from being easy to guess, a brute force tool can detect very simple passwords quite quickly (it is 2020 after all). We recommend building strong passwords with a mix of numbers, letters (both upper and lower case), symbols (try holding option and pressing a key), and use longer words or phrases that are longer and not commonly found in a dictionary. Lose the simple abc123 password that you’ve been using since you first logged on to AOL.
For the geeks out there–here’s how to do this EVEN better and some math as to why this is important!
Use Different Passwords For Each Account
Reduce the risk of a malicious actor reusing compromised credentials from another account to access your account. For most of us, we have one go to password that we use everywhere. For example, if hackers breached your Yahoo account (hypothetically), they could try to use this same configuration to log into your Google account, or worse, your bank account. We recommend using a password for certain accounts with slight variations (such as changing an ‘s’ for a ‘$’) and using a different style password altogether for other accounts.
A great way to take care of the first two points is to use a secure, trustworthy password management tool such as 1Password or Keeper, which creates very complex passwords for each website or app, and saves them for you. All you need is a single password to log into these apps or browser extension, and the password manager automatically fills in the password for each site your are visiting. Ultimately it saves you the time of creating unique, strong passwords and remembering them individually – you just need to remember one password!
Think about the smart home devices you are using at home, ranging from routers, smart TVs and speakers, even now fridges and door locks. Be sure to verify that each has the default passwords reset – as hackers are finding ways to breach factory set passwords on nearly all devices. We recommend a quick google search of your device names + “known vulnerability” to see if any devices in your home are at risk.
Read next: Top 3 Ways To Protect Your Home