Monday, August 18, 2014

Protect Yourself From Being Hacked Now

Do you worry that a hacker is going to access your online information? You should. Millions of people get hacked everyday. There is no fool proof plan to prevent such attacks but you can certainly tilt the odds in your favor. Some hackers love a good challenge, but those trying to get your passwords for monetary gain generally want an easy dinner. If you make it difficult for them they will just move on to the next easier target.
There are four aspects of hacking you should be aware of:

  • Someone you know may want to hack you. This person will have a lot of information about you and may access your devices while you are not looking. They may even be able to guess your passwords by knowing what’s important to you. This is the most common hack.
  • You may become the victim of a brute force attack. Hackers have programs that guess at your password until they gain entry. These attacks work by systematically checking all possible passphrases until the correct one is found. A strong, random password can make these types of attacks unprofitable to the hacker.
  • Millions of people lose their information to hackers in a data breach. This is when a hacker infiltrates the system of a company you have a relationship with. There is not much we can do about this.
  • Trojans are links or photos that once clicked on give hackers remote control of your computer. Because your computer keeps screenshots of you entering your username and password, it is easy for a hacker to gain entry into your accounts.

Ideally, to prevent yourself from being hacked you would create each of your passwords with at least 16 characters, and a combination of numbers, symbols, uppercase letters, lowercase letters, and spaces. The password would be free of repetition, dictionary words, usernames, pronouns, IDs, and any other predefined number or letter sequences. Password strength is based on bits; a six letter phrase might be 30 bits and easy to crack while a random 16 character password, at 80 bits, might take years to crack. Of course it would be very difficult to remember all of your passwords in this format.

There are multiple ways and programs to go about creating 80 bit passwords and remembering them. My favorite, and the most popular, is a free application called LastPass. After installing it into your browser, when you sign up to a new website you can generate random 80 bit passwords and let LastPass remember them for you. Your computer does not take a screenshot when LastPass logs in for you. The company does not even store your passwords in their database; instead they assign you a number so that when you attempt to login they simply check to see if your number matches the one on file. Without getting overly technical, this process is practically impossible to hack. Another great aspect, you can login to your LastPass account on any computer.

I have been using LastPass for a couple years now and cannot imagine doing without it. Hopefully, this article has inspired you take action on protecting your information. More and more malicious hackers are coming as technology ages. Being protected means staying informed. Cheers.