According to various reports including this one from CNN Money 2 million accounts from social media outlets and email providers were compromised. CNN Money reports that credentials from over 93,000 web sites including over 300,000 on Facebook have been compromised. The cause according to cybersecurity firm TrustWave the cause of the security breach was the work of a malicious virus which stole log in credentials from people who were infected.
The recommendation I’ve heard typically is to change passwords every so often, somewhere in the every 3-6 month range. This is meant to make it harder for hackers or ID thieves to access personal information, social web sites, and personal email. Also be mindful not to make the password easy to guess, for example common passwords that people for some reason use are as easy as “123123” and “admin”, these passwords are poor in terms of safety because they’re frequently used.
Not to be a jerk, but I am happy than providers force people to use long passwords now a days and some also include a user to use all of the following: a capital letter, a special character (IE #,@,* and so on) and a number. This is done to make it much harder for potential victims to be hacked.
One of the more recent trends in email, so if you see an email that looks off, don’t open it! If you suspect something is wrong you should hover your mouse over the name of the sender, and it will show you what the email of the sender is, and that allows you to see who the sender really is. I think this can be done through all the major email providers.
The most common thing now is that these scams or virus’ are being sent under names of people you know in social media, which is a fault of Facebook selling advistising space and allowing the advertisers to access personal data including but surely not limited to, who is on your friends list, your location, and so on. So when I hear people complaining about security I can usually relate to their concerns. However this is a problem that I don’t think anyone expected to happen and it is little known, so make sure you hover over any suspicious emails, and double check, it won’t take much effort on the users end to check the email address. These emails from these supposed friends are easy to spot because they have headlines that make no sense because they’re written in broken English.
This probably doesn’t need to be said, but another place that is littered with bad things, and I am not referring to the content, are adult websites. Those sometimes have virus’ and can be a place for mal-ware, and spyware to be installed within the sites onto your computer. I do not advocate visiting these type of sites, but I would be doing a disservice if I ignored the threats within them since some people do visit them and there is nothing that can change that.
Also of note you might also consider a virus scanner than also keeps your computer safe from spyware. I personally use Windows Defender, but there is also Microsoft Security Essentials that also works well, and both are free to use. There are ones you can pay for and they probably offer superior coverage, but I’ve had no issues with the Microsoft products so I will stick to that.
I mean, listen, there is no way to be completely safe on the internet with all of the threats in cyberspace and hackers on the loose, but with a little common sense and some vigilant eyes you can do yourself a lot of good just by keeping yourself protected with the proper anti-virus software and using good passwords with all of your accounts. Another tip, is to have a different password for different places. Granted that may sound impossible, but it is doable, you just need to make a log of them on a piece of paper or a notepad externally off of your computer.
I hope this reminder helped you remember some basic stuff that might slip the mind with all of the stuff going on during the holidays including but not limited to shopping, Christmas parties, and so on.