Protecting Your Personal Information

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Comments   |   Computer General, Viruses

As most of you have heard a Russian hacker group have stolen over a billion internet passwords and credentials, and we thought it would be a good time to talk about a few security measures that you can take pre-software. This meaning, the things you can do to keep your data safe outside of firewalls and anti-viruses.

Passwords

Most people have accounts online of some type whether it is email, banking, or shopping. Let’s talk about some ways to keep those accounts safe.

Let’s start with passwords. These need to be strong.

  • Include capital letters, numbers, and symbols in your password
  • Do not use numbers or phrases that are related to your personal information such as phone numbers, address, birthdates, etc.
  • Vary your passwords from account to account
  • Do not share you passwords with anyone
  • If you must save your passwords somewhere, encrypt the document with a password

Encrypt a Word Document

To test your password, click here. This isn’t completely accurate, but it will give you a good idea.

Account Sharing

Be very careful with whom you share your account information, including social media, and posting on sites such as craigslist. I personally, have a “junk” account that I give out for those very things. I use this email account for nothing except for communication with people or sites that I will only use once, such as signing up for a mailing list to get a discount. I only give my personal account to people in person, or companies that I trust.

If you have to post your email or phone number online do so with some tricks such as spelling it out, for example: Our phone number is (865) 94seven-074nine, or my email address is sales(@)computerdepotonlinedotcom. This will help with crawlers looking to spam your emails and phone numbers.

Speaking of social media, don’t give status updates of where you are. A post like, “on vacation…gone for the week!”, is just begging for a breaking and entering.

Avoid Social Engineering

This is a psychological way of obtaining a person’s personal information. It comes in all forms from simple to complex. For more information on the different forms of social engineering, click here.

The most common form that we hear about at our shops is called Quid Pro Quo. This is where attackers call phone numbers claiming to be with a software company or technical support. Eventually the attacker will get someone on the phone that happens to have an existing problem, get the victim to run commands, and allow them access into their system. Legitimate companies will not cold call consumers about computer issues. Just because they say they are “Microsoft Certified”, or a “Google Partner”, doesn’t mean they are. Also, their so-called certification or partnership may not even exist.

There are many more steps you can take to protect yourself, but this is great starting point for general web surfing. Do your research, and you will have a much better chance of protecting your information and accounts online!

Computer Depot now has instructional videos and reviews on Youtube, here!

Happy surfing,

Caleb Humphries

 

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