2 MILLION FACEBOOK, GMAIL AND LINKEDIN PASSWORDS STOLEN.
While the number of people online increases, hackers are getting smarter about accessing your personal information. According to CNN Money’s article from December 4, 2013, 2 million passwords were stolen from Facebook, Gmail, Yahoo, Twitter, ADP, and LinkedIn accounts around the world.
Over the course of several months, the hackers used key-logging software that was maliciously installed on an untold number of computers. The virus’ software captured the log-in information for specific websites and sent that information to servers controlled by the hackers. Unfortunately, there is no way to tell if your account was among those that were compromised, but it is possible the hackers accessed your personal information (bank accounts, credit card statements, etc.) and modified your account.
To protect your online privacy, we urge you to follow these 5 simple but effective techniques and practice them regularly.
1. Do not share your personal information on Social Media
Chances are, we’re all guilty of this. As a small business owner, you should still list your company’s phone number, address, and email on your business page but keep your personal information (home phone number, home address, children’s age or school, etc.) limited to people you know.
2. Create multiple, strong passwords
– Similarly, don’t use the same passwords for all your accounts. Switch it up and change them frequently. If the hackers compromise one of your accounts, at least the others are safe.
3. Clear your cookies
Cookies are small pieces of data stored on your computer to recognize your online activity. Most of the cookies are harmless and contain useful information (i.e. items in your shopping cart), but others store your personal information and online history. This information may be sold to other companies (i.e. advertisers) and compromise your privacy. To learn how to clear your browser’s cookies, click here.
4. Keep an eye open for “phishing” emails
– Email spams are getting more and more sophisticated. Your bank or credit card company will never ask for your account information via email. Don’t respond to those emails and flag them immediately.
– The safest option for small business owners is to host your company’s email with a secure email hosting company. Email hosting companies offer secure, professional accounts, and they won’t sell your information to advertisers. If you have a website and host your domain with a web hosting company, they may offer a secure email platform as well. Ask your web host about the safest options for your business.
5. Be careful on public Wi-Fi
If you’re browsing the web using public, unsecured Wi-Fi, your computer may be accessible to other network users too. You can help avoid this by only signing onto secure networks. As a small business owner, if your business handles sensitive data in the cloud, it’s best to store your data on a Virtual Private Server, instead of a shared server.
As a Small Business Owner, protecting your business’ privacy and security are of the highest importance to you. It is crucial to follow regular online security measures to prevent yours and your customer’s valuable information from being accessed or stolen.