Drew shares his top five common-sense security tips to keep your personal information secure.
Use multiple e-mail addresses
Emails are one of the best ways for information to be collated and sent to internet users. Over the space of five years you will sign up to potentially hundreds of services which require you to enter your email address, leading to a mountain of spam emails.
One of the smartest things I have ever done online was to create a secondary email account. This has allowed me to segment my mail subscriptions and personal emails into different addresses. This also prevents my email address from falling into the hands of spammers. I currently collate my emails into my Microsoft Outlook account with emails from different email accounts falling into different folders. If you are not currently using a program such as Microsoft Outlook, you can set up a forwarding rule from one of your email accounts to the other.
Create strong passwords
We all know that we should be creating strong passwords which are almost impossible for a hacker to crack, but how many of us are actually doing this? I will admit that I have one or two passwords which don’t meet the following requirements, but this article is certainly a wake-up call to fix them.
Did you know that it would take a hacker with a complicated hacking program only two seconds to crack a six character password which is a word, but not in the top 10,000 most used passwords? The word I used is a suburb near where I live called malvern typed out with no capital letters. Even if I add a capital letter to the beginning of the password, it would take the hacking program two minutes to crack. What really makes a difference in encryption is adding digits to a password. By adding my home address number 64 to the end of the password, I have increased the time required to hack the password to 39 days. This still isn’t strong enough for my liking so I have decided to make the digits at the end of the password into the year I moved into my current suburb of residence which is 2010. The resulting password is Malvern2010 and it would now take an estimated 412 years for a program to crack this password.
You should update your passwords every six months and have a unique password for your most critical accounts such as your email address and then a generic password you use for other websites. The reason for this is that many high-profile websites in recent years have been hacked and the email addresses and passwords of those users were stolen. Just imagine how many of those accounts use the same password for that email address. Don’t be one of them!
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