It seems like every week there's another massive data breach from some service or another. I doubt any one of us haven't had some amount of personal information accessed from one of these services.
But you can't go run IT security for everyone out there. So if you don't want to stop using everything on the internet, here are the top five ways to guard yourself against data breaches:
1. Don't reuse passwords between sites. When a breach is detected, the first thing most sites do is reset passwords. If you haven't used that password anywhere else that stops a lot of damage right there.
2. Use long passwords. Longer passwords take longer to crack and the longer it takes to crack your password, the less interested an attacker becomes since there are other easier credentials they can crack. At the very least, just double every password's length by typing it twice.
3. Turn on two-factor authentication. That way, even if hackers get your password somehow, they have to go to the extra trouble of cracking the other factor which is more difficult. Remember, it's all about putting in speed bumps.
4. Sign up for an alert service like Have I Been Pwned? They'll notify you if your email is found in a breach so you can quickly make any changes you need to.
5. Only give sites the information you absolutely need to in order to make use of the service. Companies will always ask for more but if you never enter the info in the first place no attacker can get it. Some people even have a fake birthday they use on the internet.
Nothing will make you 100% breach proof of course, but hopefully these tips put in enough barriers to keep your info a little safer.
- Ebook: 17 tips for protecting Windows computers and Macs from ransomware
- The Black Report: Attacking your system, from the hacker perspective
- Yahoo confirms 32M accounts breached in 2015-2016 forged cookies attack
- 5 easily installed utilities for improving your online privacy
- I infected my Windows computer with ransomware to test RansomFree's protection
Tom is an award-winning independent tech podcaster and host of regular tech news and information shows. Tom hosts Sword and Laser, a science fiction and fantasy podcast, and book club with Veronica Belmont. He also hosts Daily Tech News Show, covering the most important tech issues of the day with the smartest minds in technology.