Protecting your online data

As more and more services and application find there way online, it becomes increasingly important that you are taking proactive steps to protect that information. Everyday attackers come up with new ways to try to steal user data and ultimately their money.

According to Google, the most common ways attackers get your password include:

  • Password re-use: You sign up for an account on a multiple website using the same username and password. If even one of the sites is hacked and your sign-in information is discovered, the hijacker has easy access to multiple accounts.
  • Malware: You use a computer with infected software that is designed to steal your passwords as you type (“keylogging”) or grab them from your browser’s cache data.
  • Phishing: You respond to a website, email, or phone call that claims to come from a legitimate organization and asks for your username and password.
  • Brute force: You use a password that’s easy to guess, like your first or last name plus your birth date (“Laura1968”), or you provide an answer to a secret question that’s common and therefore easy to guess, like “pizza” for “What is your favorite food?”
Even those of us who are “tech-savy” can fall into the trap of having a good strong password, but never changing it. While you might have good security practices, you don’t necessarily know how the website you trust are handling them. In the event that a website you use gets hacked and user password get leaked, it becomes important that you don’t use the same password on multiple since the attacker can turn around and try to use your information before news of the hack gets out.