Learn From Histories’ Most Harmful Hacks: Tips on Protecting Your Personal Information

computer hackerIf you knew 20 year-old Raynaldo Rivera about a couple of months ago, you probably would not have known that he was a hacker, arrested with the group LulzSec.

If found guilty for breaking into a secured computer property of Sony Entertainment, conspiracy and impairment of the computer, Rivera could face up to 15 years in prison, according to Finance Review. The breach cost Sony more than $600,000 to recover their systems and there was likely an added amount of funds needed to further secure their computer systems.

If you are an employee of a company that stores sensitive private information on a computer system, you’ll want to recommend using a theft protection system that will secure employee information.

Here are a few other suggestions for protecting yourself online…

Pick a Good Username and Password

In last month’s the Atlantic Wire, “white hat hacker” Alex Horan gave a few tips on how readers could improve their abilities to select passwords that are effective and difficult to crack. Along with investing in identity theft insurance, like with Lifelock, assuring your password protection is key in locking everything up, reducing the risk of identity theft when browsing online. Here are a few of the tips we thought were the most effective:

  • Pick a password or passphrase that is 10 to 14 characters long. A passphrase is more personal and can be an inside joke that only you would remember and consider as special. Whereas a password, like your cat’s name, or your anniversary or firstborn’s birthplace might be too short and more possible to crack. The longer the passphrase, the longer it will take a hacker to decode.
  • Don’t use the same login for everything. If the username for your Gmail account is “your name@gmail.com,” then make your Twitter username something else. If a hacker can crack two of your passwords which are similar, he can bet that the rest of your passwords are the same too.
  • Use “dumb” passwords for your social network accounts and more complex passwords for more serious accounts, like your bank or email account. Save your brain space for the more important passwords.

Go with Heavy Encryption

You wouldn’t keep your money in a bank account that is robbed several times a week would you? So why give your personal information, like your social security number or mailing address, to a company that is not properly encrypted? Horan says that it’s important to do your homework before being so eager to sign up with a company that is hacked often and does not use proper methods for encryption.

For example, Yahoo Voicemail was hacked because it was not secured heavily with encryption, but LinkedIn utilizes added salting that adds extra characters to a password hash, making it more difficult for a hacker to decipher and crack.

Know How Secure Your Provider Is

As reported on Global Post, a hacker who calls himself AnonymousOwn3R claims to be the hacker who worked alone as he infiltrated GoDaddy’s server. GoDaddy was only down for a couple of hours but it was enough to alert the we-bhosting company about how secure their system was. It also alerted customers to how reliable or unreliable GoDaddy was as a web-hosting company.

As tech savvy consumers and business owners, it is as important to sign on with a company that will prevent you and your business from losing money and having your information hacked as it is to save money upfront. So, even if a web-host is offering you the best deal for a fancy free template and three subdomain names, think twice before you pass on sensitive information to them online.

Author Bio: Andrew Bryant has provided copywriting services for buyers’ guides and training materials for various software programs. He enjoys writing product reviews and how-to articles for people who are not computer geeks.

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  1. Being aware of Identity Theft and the serious problems it can cause can really give you an edge in better protecting your self online. It makes you more prepared and more knowledgeable about the tips and tricks of the situation.

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