I can still remember the days I mourned after losing all of my Tales of Pirates II money to a malicious link. I was so innocent back then that I didn’t realize it was all scam.
Months after, I cheered myself up. Why? Because after all, it’s not real money I lost.
But just imagine the damage and mental turmoil online hackers bring to their victims. The following are general and time-tested tips to save your tears.
Tip #1: Make Tough Passwords That Serve as Strong Defenses
The norm is for it to be at least 10 digits long with unique characters. I’m talking about special characters and a blend of upper and lower case elements (symbols, letters, and numbers).
We also have a habit of recycling passwords, but any trace of similarity can now be sniffed by these wolves. To be conservative, avoid doing such. Like the overused expression, better be safe than sorry.
Another thing you need to avoid is incorporating personal association. Don’t use your birthday, a beloved pet name, initials, or favorite fruit followed by the 123 number series. You need to beef it up.
Another widespread misconception is making numbers as equivalents. I r34lly d0not l1k3 th4t techn1qu3. That’s how it works. Again, what we’re trying to do here is eliminate any association.
Conclusion: Before hackers even get the chance to access your account further by secondary verification methods (e.g., phone, e-mail, passcode), a strong password automatically kills that chance since it’s a prerequisite.
Tip #2: Make the Most of Double Verification
Majority of online banking methods today require passcode insertion on top of your account password. This serves as an additional layer of security to prevent a security breach.
The principle goes the same for online accounts – thanks to Google’s influence. Account related transactions (e.g., password change, balance inquiry, purchase confirmation, shipment details, and rebates) require a nod via phone or email. Hence, it delays online crimes from full consummation.
And if those cyberpunks attempted to change your email, it would be twice as difficult as they have to generate the new set of hunches.
The bottom line is to never hit on the “Skip for now” button whenever you have the chance to add online safeguards.
Tip #3: When in Doubt, Don’t Enter Unfamiliar Links
One advice is to never fall for the rudimentary “Click Here” buttons that are in glaring fonts and colors. It doesn’t take rocket science to know that those will lead you to spam sites (telling that you just won a million).
Your social media feeds may induce you to click on links about zombies, or mermaid skeletons found in the Mediterranean Sea. You gave into your inquisitive side, and you end up being frustrated.
How do I become more cautious then?
It’s all about trusting your skepticism. There are times the domain name already renders itself as bogus (e.g., cashpop4free(dot)com); you just need to be firm and sturdy.
But how about links that look legit or phishing scams?
Here are some solutions.
- Drag the mouse cursor over the suspected link. Oftentimes, the truth behind false links covered by well-crafted promotional links is shown at the lower left portion of your browser.
- Utilize websites and plug-ins that analyze link truthfulness, often termed as link scanners.
- Instead of clicking the link that may direct you to a deep portion of the website, try visiting its home page first.
- If the website claims to be SSL protected (which scam sites always do), use SSL analyzers and SSL certificate checkers to detect any form of dishonesty.
Tip #4: Mind the Small Things
Our bad habits of leaving our devices unattended and not clearing browser caches make us more vulnerable. It’s like feeding live chickens to a pack of ravening wolves. Make sure to formally log out of websites whenever you’re borrowing someone’s device, and clear the browser cache. It’s through these small steps that we avoid leaving a trace.
Tip #5: Have a Plan B, C, and D
When all else fails, you should have contingency plans at least. These may be comprised of recovery emails or hard drives to back up your files. At times, we can let go of that $100 credit balance on our accounts, but not the accumulated data we’ve held for so long.
As a realization, online opportunists will use every bit of information or carelessness against us. Be mindful of those whispers you utter on public places, or keyloggers employed by abusive internet cafes which you have little knowledge of. You can never tell if you’re next on their list.
Monica Morgan is a free-spirited woman having vast experience in article writing. She loves to travel Asian countries, writing reviews on each of them on her hqessays.com. She prefers using diverse writing styles to properly engage with a wide array of readers.