A hacker may gain control of your computer if your password has been compromised. Often, the hacker will send an email demanding money along with a deadline. You can potentially avoid this stressful situation by taking the following precautions:
- Create strong, unique passwords for each site and do not reuse passwords. Never use your name, birthday, or other easily identifiable information in your password. Passwords should be a minimum of 14 characters and contain at least one upper and lowercase letter, number, and special character. Consider using a passphrase or another language.
- Use a password encrypted vault such as Keeper Security or SafePass to store your passwords.
- Use two-factor authentication for your email account(s) and financial institution(s). This creates an additional level of security beyond your password. For example, each time you log in to your bank you will receive a unique code via a text message. A hacker would need both your password and the text message to access your account(s).
- If you are hacked and receive an email demanding ransom, do not engage with the hacker. Reach out to an IT professional for help (Geek Squad at Best Buy provides 24/7 support). Hackers will often deposit a new virus on your machine after receiving a ransom payment.
Additionally, you should set-up alerts with your financial institution(s). Most institutions offer several options to help you monitor the activity in your account(s). Read the alerts carefully and contact them quickly if you do not recognize a transaction. Again, do not call any telephone number contained in an email or text. It is best to go to the website and find a telephone number. For credit cards, use the telephone number on the card.
It is also important to remember to protect data contained in your home just like you would protect a piece of jewelry. Keep financial statements and other documents that contain sensitive information such as your social security number stored in a secure location. If you have the ability, scan important documents to a secured encrypted file in the cloud. If you maintain paper documents, lock them in a safe deposit box, secured vault, or cabinet. Your data is an attractive target to a burglar or a household professional.
Last, but not least, please inform us if your personal information is compromised. We are here to help!
At Strategic Wealth Partners, we strive to keep your personal information safe in multiple ways. Please see our previous post, Your Privacy is Important to us – And You!, to learn more about what we do.