It happened to the New York Times, Facebook, Twitter and the Florida Ag Hall of Fame. No one is safe from these seemingly endless attacks to our email, websites and social media accounts. One of our clients, the Florida Ag Hall of Fame, was hacked, as inappropriate ads were placed throughout the site. We were prepared, had a backup, spent the weekend cleaning the site and had it back up and running, just in time for their annual event two weeks later. It’s unfortunate, but it is happening more and more frequently. In a recent conversation with our local community banker, he noted that they spent over $100,000 last year protecting banking clients from phishing schemes. While we can’t promise to protect you from an attack, there are still things you can do to be diligent protectors of your own domain.
- Change your password often. Don’t use your name, children’s names or pets. Use numbers and letters, upper and lowercase and consider getting a program like 1Password that will save all of your passwords for you and automatically generate more difficult passwords that you then don’t have to remember. You only have to remember the one Master password.
- Protect your phone! Most phones are like small computers these days. You have apps to your banks, etc. If you have an iphone, turn on the Find My iPhone feature and be prepared to do a clean wipe if you can’t find it.
- Don’t click on emails from friends with one word subjects and just a link in the email. Most of the time the email isn’t even the contact you know. The name is correct but the email address, if you look closely, is not. AOL and Yahoo email addresses are targeted often.
- Make sure your home wireless internet has a password and change it often, especially if you have lots of teenage kids visiting and sharing the password.
- Be considerate of your friends and family emails and don’t send out mass emails without putting those addresses in the BCC. Otherwise anyone can get that list and then spam that whole list. Consider an email marketing program like Constant Contact, Mail Chimp, Emma, etc.
- Consider an identity theft protection plan. Zander or Lifelock.
- Consider switching to a Mac. Honestly, the reason they are hacked less isn’t necessarily because they are more secure but there are less of them and they aren’t commonly targeted. But, hey, we are trying to convert the world anyway and this is another good reason.
Sadly, it’s not a matter of if you get hacked but when. But that doesn’t let you off the hook to do nothing. Back-up your data regularly, update your software, change and use stronger passwords and consider switching to Mac.