Sunday, July 1, 2012

How Not To Get Hacked

I just received a direct message on twitter from a chap I've known for 25 years. I know it wasn't from him. He's in a different time zone so I haven't called hi yet, but I KNOW his account has been hacked.

It is not nice, it is somewhat scary, so here are the main ways that will protect you from getting hacked;

1. Use A Strong Password

No, 'password' is no longer the most prevalent password out there, but apparently '123456' is. Quite sad really.

A very strong password should ideally include random upper and lowercase numbers and symbols but the latest articles I read about this state that the best password must have a 4 word based password. Quite complex to create but once done, is basically impossible to break.

In order to create an unforgettable password it is suggested that you look around your workplace for inspiration.

An example might be ‘telephoneWhiteOutiPhonemouse’ or in the case of the chap in the cubicle above, 'filefileboxpen'

A memorable phrase

Take a memorable phrase and use the first letter of every word varying he cases. I would use something such as “Do you feel lucky punk?” and convert it into “DyFlP?”

I would consider adding numbers at the end to further confuse hackers thus creating the best password ever on the planet “DyFlP2012”. So please don’t tell anyone…

2. Upgrade Microsoft Windows or Mac OS X
Older software simply means that the hacker has had a longer time to work out where the ‘backdoors’ are in the software. Updated software has patches for these issues.

3. Install Modern Wed Browsers
Que? What you talking about Willis? What the puck is a web browser? In simple talk, a web browser is what you use to visit Facebook, Gmail and Boobies.
I use Firefox, Chrome and Internet Explorer, each of them fights hard to ensure secure systems.

4. Use a password manager software such as RoboForm or kaspersky or you can look at a review of 10 different password manager software platforms here

5.  Write down your passwords! A colleague of mine just lost access to his Gmail account. The account he uses for accessing google Analytics. Its not the end of the world and only data can be stolen, nothing can be changed, but the hoops he (and I ) are going through to get it sorted out are quite time consuming

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  1. Cyber threats can't be taken lightly at all. In a closely connected world - all linked electronically, it is of prudence. However, sane debate is not something we pride ourselves on. There is shrill noise around SOPA and CISPA - but there is not much that is added to privacy let alone computer security. And when the government agency use cyber warefare with Flamme virus themselves, there is little hope for the rest of us. One solution can be spreading awareness about computer security issues like your blog and educational courses on computer security. However, that does not sound very sexy - so probably does not get the focus, it should.

  2. thanks Vikrama - some good points