Yahoo, Dropbox, Target, Home Depot, TJX Companies…all of these companies were hacked in the last few years. As a consumer, you need to be aware of how your activity online (and offline) are affected by such hacks. Buying only at brick and mortar doesn’t make you exempt to having your credit card stolen. In fact, some of the largest hacks were at retail stores. In a Web 2.0 world where literally everything exists on the network, having good passwords is essential and having 2-Factor authentication is in some cases mandatory. Here’s 3 ways to keep your digital presence safer.

  1. Strong Passwords– As computing power has increased, the time needed to crack a password has dropped.
    • In 1996, a basic password of letters only that is 8 characters long would have taken almost 2 weeks to crack! In 2016, that same password is found in under 5 hours.
      Check your password here: How Secure Is My Password?
    • Complexity matters! Don’t use just words, use numbers and punctuation to help increase the complexity. Mixed UPPER and lower case letters, at least 1 number, and punctuation [!@#$%^&] and a MINIMUM of 8 characters help make it much harder to break.
    • The Solution: Use a password manager like LastPass to help remember complex passwords and make suggestions when you need to change your password.
  2. Get alerts for financial transactions. Many banks and credit card companies enable you to get free email and text message alerts when activity is on your account. SET IT UP!! If you see transactions that you didn’t make, you can react sooner to prevent fraud on your account. Some companies go as far as allowing you to use an app on your phone to approve/deny transactions in real-time.
  3. Use 2-factor authentication: another layer of security. 2-factor means using a second authentication method in addition to your password when you login to your online account, desktop, email or unlock your phone. It could be a confirmation code contained in a text message, email, an app on your phone, a phone call, or a USB fob like a Yubi Key. 2-factor authentication includes physical ID like your face, eyes, fingerprint or voice. Though biometric 2-factor has been proven to not be 100% reliable with certain forms.

Will Kutzler

F1 Networx Inc.

631-764-2600

New York’s Premier Tech Management Group

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