With Black Friday coming up this week, it is a good time to review some ways to protect your identity while shopping the sales. Cyber-attackers hit banks and big corporations, but they also target individuals.
Hackers have lots of tools to use against us, so we thought we would present you with a few things you may do to keep your information safer when using the internet. And let’s face it, there is very little business these days that is not carried out on the world-wide web.
- Computer hackers have all the time in the world, and the best software with which to crack passwords. Instead of a password, try a pass phrase and use symbols, numbers and upper and lowercase letters. A password manager is also helpful.
- We’ve talked recently about Smart TVs and the potential for spying; hackers also use baby monitors to get into your phones and computers. Always change the default password, and keep your Wi-Fi password protected so that your information is not made public.
- Avoid public Wi-Fi if at all possible, especially those that are not password protected. Hackers love to be the middle-man and steal your information from public Wi-Fi. Set up your phone as a personal hot spot; avoid financial transactions if you must use public Wi-Fi.
- Always be careful when clicking on Facebook videos that are posted from an unrecognized source. If in doubt, type into Google the name of the video to see if it is on YouTube. If not, don’t open it – you could be opening your entire computer to hackers.
- Computer thieves love your Bluetooth headset. If it is left on when you’re not using it, hackers can easily connect to your phone and steal and manipulate data. Always turn off Bluetooth when not in use.
- Check your bank and charge balances daily, if you have the time. Cyber-thieves are known to try charging or debiting small amounts first – usually $20 or less – so you may be able to stop them before things get out of hand. Avoid using your debit card when you can.
- Always turn off your Wi-Fi while travelling. Whether your laptop, your smartphone or tablet, your device will constantly try to connect to known networks. Get into the habit of turning it off every time you leave home.
- Don’t apply for credit cards online; you always have to give your Social Security number, and once it’s out there, it’s out there for good.
If you have legal questions, please consult our online Legal Directory to find an attorney in your area.