How To Protect Your Accounts From Cybercriminals
Cybercrimes are ongoing threats that continuously evolve as technology evolves. You can never predict when your account will be attacked by a cyber-criminal. Cyberattacks are no longer limited to big corporations or government sites. Small businesses and individuals are not safe from cybercrimes. A small business may find it harder to recover from a security incident. As an SMB it is important to understand how to protect your accounts from cybercriminals.
How cybercriminals crack passwords
Cybercriminals use specific tools to automate the password cracking process by running through all possible combinations until they find the right one. A password with a minimum of 6 characters and with all lowercase letters, will only take a maximum of 308,915,776 attempts to crack. This may seem a huge number of attempts, but for password cracking tools this is an effortless task. A basic password with all lowercase letters can be cracked in less than 0.29 milliseconds. So what can you do to protect your accounts from cybercriminals? Here’s how.
Ways to make your account more secure
Create strong passwords
Make sure you don’t repeat your passwords on different sites, and they all are as strong as possible. Research proves a strong password is at least 12 characters long with at least two or three different types of characters that are of lowercase, uppercase, digits and symbols. Also, put these characters in unpredictable places. It is also recommended to use no capital letters at the beginning and no digits or symbols clustered at the end.
Another method to set a strong password is to combine partial 2-4 unrelated words and incorporate other types of characters to it. You should also make sure you change your passwords regularly.
Manage password using a password manager
Learn more about password managers.
Implement two-factor authentication
Enable two-factor authentication (2FA) as an extra layer of security measure. With 2FA, after you enter credentials, you will be asked to enter a verification code, which is usually sent by text message to your phone. This way, hackers can’t access the data even though they crack the password.
Make sure all your software are updated
Cybercriminals are always known to utilize vulnerabilities, or flaws, in your software to gain access to your system. So, if your browser, operating system, or apps are out-of-date, the software might not be safe anymore. Patching those vulnerabilities and flaws can help you from becoming a cybercrime target. Patching is especially essential for your operating systems and internet security software.
Restrict access to your data
Removing account access for non-essential apps gives better protection to your sensitive information. Also, restrict access for apps that use less secure sign-in technology.
Remove unwanted apps & browser extensions
More apps on your device can make you more vulnerable. On devices that have access to confidential information, install only necessary apps and browser extensions. Avoid installing unknown apps and apps from unsecured sources to protect your device and valuable information.
Manage your social media settings
Social engineering cybercriminals can often gain your personal information with just a few data points, so the less you share publicly, the safer. They use your information given in the social sites to impersonate you or trick you. So it’s essential to manage your social media settings and restrict who all can access your profile details. Hackers will use your pet’s name that you posted or reveal your mother’s maiden name, which can be the answers to two common security questions.
Avoid suspicious requests
Never share your passwords with anyone. Genuine and professional service providers, be it any service, will never ask for your password in an email, message, or phone call. So do not reply to suspicious emails, texts, instant messages or phone calls that ask for your personal or financial information. Avoid clicking links in emails, messages, webpages, or pop-ups from untrustworthy or suspicious websites or senders.
Social engineering – A manipulation technique that utilises human error to gain private information, access, or valuables. E.g. Phishing
Browser extensions – A small software application that adds functionality to a web browser. E.g. AdBlock
Blake is the Technical Services Manager of The Computing Australia Group, he is responsible for coordinating a team of technicians to deliver IT services to our valued clients. He works with a diverse client portfolio spanning mining, oil & gas, manufacturing, government, and corporate sectors. It is challenging because no two clients and no two sectors have the same IT environment. The team at CAG is committed to documentation and we spend a lot of time ensuring that each site is documented to the highest standard.