What steps can you take to protect yourself and reduce the possibility that you will be hacked?

A selection of the top tips

  • Use strong passwords and a password manager. HowtoGeek.com has a great article on creating a strong password and recommended password managers. Most password managers will generate strong passwords for you. GRC.com and other sites will generate a new, unique strong password for you every time you visit (that you can then copy and paste into a password manager, such as Keychain for the Mac). PCMag.com reviews the best password managers for 2017. Don’t use the same password everywhere and don’t keep passwords in a document on your PC!
  • Use two-factor authentication. This inserts an extra step before you can sign into websites to access email, Facebook and others. The site sends a code to your phone by text that you have to enter after entering your name and password. Without this code, the website won’t let you in. Even if hackers gain your password, without access to your phone they are locked out. Techrepublic.com has a useful article on two-factor authentication and how to use it, written for non-techies, along with links on how to set up two-factor authentication on many services.
  • Be careful with emails! Email phishing scams come in many forms. Tripwire.com has a great article: Phishing Frenzy: The Good, The Bad and How You Can Protect Yourself. 
  • Protect your mobile devices. Cellphones are tantalizing devices for hackers seeking ways to break into business networks. Smallbiztrends.com has The 10 Best Ways to Protect Your Mobile Device Against Hackers. Rogers.com reports that nearly 1 in 4 people will experience loss, theft or damage to their wireless device this year. 
  • Take steps to protect your business from ransomware. Cbia.com published Fourteen Tips to Protect your Business from Ransomware attacks. I would add one more tip: Back your data up in a secure, encrypted online storage service such as sync.com. Cloudwards.net lists and ranks the best cloud storage in Canada. Sync.com is the overall winner as it is a zero-knowledge storage service (meaning that they have end-to-end encryption and you and only you have access to the decryption keys).

When it comes to IT, one can think that you have adequate protection, that is, until you get hacked. I looked for Canadian data, but in the US it is reported that hackers cost businesses more than $445 billion in 2014. Spending money on security and prevention is always money
well spent.

© 2017 David J. Bilinsky

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