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Cyber Security: How To Protect Your Information Online

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Cyber security risks are a lot more serious than they used to be. Today, everything is stored in the cloud. While the interconnectedness of the web is convenient for keeping all of your data easily accessible, it also puts you at greater risk if you are the victim of hacking.

Hackers can invade your entire life with access to your password. The threat of hacking is greater if you’re a business owner, because you put your clients’ confidential information at risk by having lax security protocols. It’s up to you to take the necessary precautions and protect not just your own information, but integrity of your business.

The most recent rash of cyber security threats comes from a scheme involving a fake Gmail login page. When hackers get into an email, they will send out emails containing an attachment to everyone in the address book. So typically, you will receive an email from someone in your address book, someone you know and trust, containing this attachment. Once you click on the attachment, it directs you to log back into your email. Unfortunately, when this happens, it takes you to a fake login page and once you enter in your login credentials, the hackers now it and can get into your email and access all your information linked to it.

Here’s how to tell the difference between a real and fake Gmail homepage:

There are only two differences between these two pages. First, the beginning of the URL is different. Second, look out for the green “Secure” label before the website URL. If this label is missing, you’re looking at a fake Gmail login page. That’s why it’s good to find that “Secure” label before you sign into any login screen you visit.

If you enter your username and password on a fake login page, the hacker now has access to your login credentials. And they will use it to steal any sensitive information they can access with Gmail or any other website that you use the same password for. Your finances, your identity, and any other information that you store online. All of this is at stake if you’re a victim of this hacking scheme.

Even worse, these hackers will try to spread the fake login page even further using your Gmail address book. If you’re a business owner, that means that your employees and clients can make the same mistake you did and use the fake login.

Scary, right? Here’s what you can do to increase your cyber security. While there’s no sure-fire way to guarantee that you won’t be hacked, there are precautions you can take to make your accounts more secure.

If you follow these guidelines, you can protect yourself from hackers and prevent them from accessing your information through schemes like this one.

1. Two-step authentication

Two-step authentication is probably the best way to avoid a hack.

When you login on one device, like your computer, you will receive a notification (via text or e-mail) on another device, like your cell phone, informing you that someone is trying to sign into your account. You will need to enter a code from the second device, your cell phone, in order to access your email on the first device, your laptop or computer.

This process ensures that, even if someone has access to one of your devices and your password, they cannot sign into your account without access to both of your devices.

Two-step authentication also acts as a warning system, so you’ll immediately know if someone else is trying to sign into your device. You can then take all necessary actions to block out the hacker before you have your information stolen.

2. Create a strong password

If you have any fears that your online security has been compromised, change your password immediately. Don’t make your password something that could be guessed easily. A strong password should have a mix of different types of characters, including upper- and lower-case letters, symbols, and numbers.

It’s also good to diversify your passwords so they’re not identical on every website you use. Having the same password for different websites and devices makes it easier for hackers to take over more of your personal information faster. Also remember to change your password frequently.

3. Avoid saving your passwords in your browser

Though it’s easy and convenient, saving your passwords in your browser can be a major security risk. If someone gains access to your device, you’ve immediately given them access to any website where you have your information saved. Resist the temptation to save your password, especially when it comes to important business accounts and your email.

4. Do not pass sensitive info around online

Never use email or online messages to communicate confidential information. Credit card numbers, social security numbers, passwords, and any other information that could be used against you if in the wrong hands should not be passed around online. And this doesn’t mean you don’t trust your friends, family, or coworkers. Unfortunately, once you pass private information over a web-based communication platform, you’re putting that information at risk as it is stored in your history. If you are ever hacked, the hacker would then have access to any and all of the information you’ve sent or received.

Come up with an alternative solution, like printing hard copies of that information and storing it somewhere safe. You can also explore different secure databases and websites that have a low chance of being compromised by hackers.

With these tips, you should be able to protect your information more securely. However, there’s no way to guarantee that you will not be hacked, as cyberattacks evolve and become more difficult to spot. Stay alert, stay vigilant, and never let your guard down online.

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