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Four Ways to Improve Security and Prevent Hacks

How much of your life involves technology? I would guess it’s a significant amount. You use it to stay in contact with friend and family and or run an efficient business. That makes it vital that you follow good security practices everywhere you can. Start protecting your personal life and your business with these practices.

Man finished with his work.

Use Two Factor Authentication (2FA)

When you log in to your email or Facebook account, you put in your email and password – what you know. That’s one factor authentication.

Using an authentication device like your phone, what you have, to generate codes adds another factor. Then when you login to your account, you’ll be asked to provide a random code that proves that you have the device. So if someone looks over your shoulder to see your password, they will still need your phone to get into the account. You do have a lock on your phone right?

What Do I Need To Increase Security With 2FA?

  • An Android or iPhone.
  • The app Authy installed on your phone.

That’s all that you need to start out with. Be sure to have a good password for Authy. More on secure passwords further down.

How Do I Add 2FA To My Account?

The steps are going to vary for each service, but generally the option would be found under security options in the account settings. Authy has several guides for many services. Most popular services have 2FA options, however, there are still a few who don’t.

If you have an account that doesn’t support 2FA, either use a long and hard to guess password or switch to another service.

Some services only offer sending codes through SMS or calls, which can work, but it is not as secure as using an application like Authy.

Use a Password Manager

You need an account for every other website or app. Why do I need an account to open up an app? Regardless, we recommend a different password for every account. However a lot of people recycle their passwords. Then some guy gets into the database for that photo editing app you wanted to try out and finds the emails and passwords. They then put this combo into every popular website. If the password was recycled,they will have access to your account.

Check if one of your accounts have been breached by visiting haveibeenpwned.com.

Using a password manager, like Bitwarden, lets you securely save your passwords so you don’t have to remember hundreds of unique passwords. It generates random passwords and the extension can put them into login forms for you. There are other great features that make security easy and convenient.

We personally use Bitwarden and self-host it.

Use Secure Passwords or Passphrase

This is where using a password manager like Bitwarden comes in handy. It can generate passwords that are as long as 128 characters, use numbers, capital letters, and special characters. It can even generate a random passphrase. Use these generated passwords for your online services like your email or banking institution.

For accounts like your computer, where you need to be able to remember the password, you should use a sentence as a password. This gives you a long password with capital letters, special characters, and maybe numbers.

Use a phrase as a password instead of something like hunter2.

Something ridiculous like I want 5 alligators for pets. is hard to guess for others and easy to remember for you. Don’t actually use that particular password since it’s publicly visible.

Don’t use public knowledge information as your password, like the street where you live or when you got married.

Update Your Software

Yes, it can be annoying, but you should update your software as soon as possible. Exploits like Heartbleed are discovered and any effected systems must be updated. If you don’t update, then attackers can use known exploits to get into systems and wreck havoc. This is what happened to Equifax. Some vital systems were not updated, they got hacked, and now everyone’s social security numbers are out in the open.

“Most breaches we become aware of are caused by failure to update software components that are known to be vulnerable for months or even years,”

RenĂ© Gielen – Apache Struts

Final Words About Security

These are some of the biggest ways that you can increase your security. The best thing is to just be aware of your security and privacy. There are other practices that can be used, like not answering truthfully on security questions, but that is it for now.

If you’re a business owner in the area of McAllen, Edinburg, or Mission, and would like to improve the security of your business, get in touch with us and we’ll see how we can help you.

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