Not long ago I read a post by Wired reporter Mat Honan where he outlined in great detail his epic hack attack. In the space of an hour, Honan had the data on his phone, iPad, and computer wiped out, Gmail account deleted, and Twitter and iCloud accounts compromised.
The hackers were able to access certain information, and with a little manipulation, use it to wreak digital havoc. Honan lost ALL his data. Some of this was beyond his control, but Honan admitted that part of it was his own fault. He hadn’t backed up his information in over a year.
It was a sobering read. I went out and bought an external hard drive.
Minimize the Risk
So what are some steps you could you be taking to protect your data?
Use Two-factor verification
Many websites are starting to incorporate two-step verification. Basically, this means in order to access your account you would need more than just your password. This adds an extra layer of security by requiring you to enter an additional numeric code that is sent to you via text message. Yes, it’s an extra step, but it also means a hacker would have to have access to your mobile phone in addition to your password, which is an unlikely scenario.
If you’re interested in seeing how this works, this Google video walks you through two-step verification for Gmail.
Use tough passwords
Choose passwords that contain at least three of the four complexity requirements: upper- and lowercase letters, numbers, and non-alphanumeric characters. And don’t use the same password for all your accounts. I know it’s difficult to remember a bunch of different passwords, but you don’t have to. There are several password managers available for just that purpose.
You may also want to consider using multiple email addresses for different services, so all your information is not attached to one account. If that’s not possible, at least make sure you change your password regularly.
Backup, Backup, Backup
Regularly backing up your data is vital. It’s a form of insurance. Aside from hacker attacks, there are virus attacks, mechanical failures, theft, and disasters to contend with. We don’t like to think of these things happening, but they do. So make backup a priority; you’ll never regret it.
And if you’re a small business, local backups may not be enough. If you don’t have a data backup and recovery plan, you are at risk of losing one of your most precious possessions. Please contact us today, and let us help you put a plan in place.
What About You?
Do you employ any of these safety measures? Have you ever been hacked or lost your data?