With the discovery on Monday of the Heartbleed bug, a potential security breach in nearly 20% of the internet’s web servers, you may be receiving a flood of emails suggesting you beef-up your sign-on info on various accounts. Today has become an unofficial “change your password” day. (Tip: Don’t click through any email to change a password; visit the site via a browser.)
As you change your password and consider the ways in which your personal or business accounts like banking, email or cloud-based services can be compromised, we thought it would be helpful to remind you of some recent advice we’ve shared related to the types of criminal cybercrimes and hacks to which your accounts may be vulnerable, and some simple steps you can take to lessen your chances of being the victim of such crimes.
Use the links to visit our earlier advice on the following:
How to lessen the chances of being hacked while using public Wifi to access the internet
We all do it, but remember: using public wifi is public. In hindsight, with the revelation of the potential of a vulnerability as the Heartbleed bug, you can now understand why the advice we provided earlier didn’t say “prevent,” but said, “lessen the chances” of being hacked while using public wifi. So, again with the caveat that nothing is 100% safe, you should still practice the approaches we shared on that how-to.
What is two-step verification and why you should start using them
Our earlier advice to use two-step verification with passwords will prevent someone who has obtained your password from accessing the account without a secondary passcode. More and more services that involve financial or personal information are offering it and we highly recommend using it. Protecting your mobile phone from being lost or stolen becomes very important, however, as without it, the ability to access your account becomes a tremendous challenge.
How and Why to Use a Password Management Application
The most aggressive approach to take to protecting your accounts (and the one that will allow you sleep more comfortably at night after hearing about something like the Heartbleed bug) is to use a password management application that can generate the types of passwords that even you won’t be able to remember (the application will remember them on your computer or device, not on the web). These services will inform you when a password you are using isn’t secure and will, in general, make you follow password “best practices.”