“No matter how careful you are to protect your confidential information, hacking can and do happen.”
Oftentimes, it occurs in a few ways that may surprise you. Your information can be accessed through your social media profiles, laptop, or computer, and even through connected devices like Nest, Alexa, and Google Home.
In reality, anything that connects to the Internet makes you vulnerable to being hacked. The good news is that there are concrete ways to better protect you.
Step 1: change your passwords
This is important because hackers look for any entry point on a larger network and can gain access through a weak password.
For accounts or devices that have sensitive information, be sure to use a complex, unique, and hard-to-guess password. Adding your birthday to your mother’s maiden name is not the best example. A good password manager like Last Pass can quickly generate passwords that are difficult for you to crack.
Step 2: protect the login process
Once your passwords are protected, make sure your logins are secure too.
You may have heard of two-factor authentication that is available on most accounts. This additional measure ensures that you are the actual person associated with the account you are trying to access.
Two-factor authentication can:
Ask for login credentials
Texting or sending an email with a unique and valid code for a limited time to your mobile device, which you must enter to complete the login process
While you are doing this, you may want to prevent certain third parties from accessing your information on sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Google. Follow the steps in the configuration section of each website to deactivate these authorizations so that the information you share is protected.
Step 3: Connect to those people who will help you
If you suspect that your financial information was obtained fraudulently, you can take a few steps immediately.
These include contacting:
Your bank. They will help process claims and will also be on the alert for any unusual activity.
The FTC. If you confirm that you were a victim of identity theft, the Federal Trade Commission can help you with a recovery plan and important documentation.
Trusted friends and family. Tell them you are suspicious so they will be more vigilant for any phishing messages or unusual communications.
Addressing possible hacking is serious business. Let someone know, follow your instincts, and take the necessary steps to protect yourself and avoid the worst.