You would be hard pressed to go a month without hearing about some type of cybersecurity story that resulted in either data being exposed, or some type of cybercrime being committed. Unfortunately, because of the sheer number of cybersecurity stories we’re bombarded with in the media, we can be put into a lull or “alert fatigue” when it comes to the real-life implications of cybercrime.
Here are three practical tips you can use in different areas to limit your hacking attack surface:
- Put a fraud alert on your credit report or better yet, freeze your credit report. It’s free to do!
- Set up alerts on your credit/debit cards so you’re notified about transactions as they occur
- Secure your mail either with a secure mailbox or PO Box
- Keep your devices up to date with the latest software and patches
- Run Antivirus on your computers and keep it up to date
- Protect your connections from tampering by using a secure Internet connection
- Never reuse passwords. Use a password manager to generate and keep track of long and unique passwords/passphrases
- Enable MFA on all cloud accounts that offer this security feature
- Obfuscate recovery questions (e.g. Your dog’s first name can be something random or generated from a password generator)
Financial Identity Theft can be swift and devastating. Take the example of Ian Jones from Bremerton, WA, who had his cell phone number ported out to a different provider, which resulted in malicious attackers gaining access to his bank account. When it was all said and done, the cybercriminals were able to go on a $5,000 spending spree. Jones said, “It was way too easy, that’s what bothered me the most.”
A hotel in the Alps was attacked with ransomware, which resulted in key cards not working and the hotel’s reservation system being taken down. It is probably fair to say that guests staying at this hotel would be worried about their own safety if they were not able to get into their rooms due to faulty key cards.
YouTube has numerous videos of personal hacking stories where emotions range from anger, to fear, and even self-blame. With all of these scenarios, one common theme all cybercrime victims experienced was some type of shock because they didn’t fully understand all of the repercussions that come from being hacked.
In 2017, Motherboard posted an article specific to the emotional implications of being hacked. Because there are so many different ways you can be hacked, it can be easy to have a feeling of defeat or helplessness. The good news is that you can be empowered to take back control of your digital identity and take proactive steps to help prevent hacking attempts against you so you don’t have to go through the financial and emotional burden of recovering from a hacking attack.