Internet scams, malware, ransomware, and online fraud are more popular among criminals now than ever before. Every day sees more of the world becoming tightly connected by the internet and technology. Everyone uses online banking, makes transactions online, and has a major footprint in the digital world.
If you spend any amount of time online, if you have digital banking set up, or if you have accounts with online trading platforms, your money could be targeted by scammers and hackers at any time. How can you protect yourself from threats you can’t see? Let’s take a look.
Download a password manager and use it to generate strong passwords. Write these passwords down somewhere in your home and keep their location a secret (in case you lose access to the password manager). Creating strong, secure passwords is a great way to keep hackers out of your accounts, but it’s far from foolproof.
The next step to making any account more secure is setting up what is known as “two-factor authentication”. This is available on most online accounts, and it’s simpler than it sounds. The way it works is that when someone attempts to log in to your account, you’ll get a prompt (usually a text message or an email) with a code to enter to authorize the login.
If you’re the person logging in, you’ll have access to the code and can easily let the login go through. If you aren’t the person logging in, though, the two-factor authentication works, preventing the would-be thief from breaking into your account. Once you’ve blocked their login attempt, you can simply change your password so that they can’t attempt this again.
Hackers hate two-factor authentication so much that they’ve started engineering ways to bypass it altogether. The main version of this is through a practice called “SIM swapping,” where a hacker calls your cellphone carrier and has them activate a phone with your phone number, thus leaving your phone a useless brick.
This is particularly insidious, as it allows the hacker to receive your text messages, meaning they can bypass some forms of two-factor authentication. This is why it’s ideal to make your accounts’ two-factor authentication go through apps or email so that a SIM swap scam can’t allow them to crack into your secure online accounts.
Stay vigilant online. Thieves are scammers are everywhere, and they want their hands on your data. Don’t let them have it.