Cyber Security Tips

How to Protect Your Personal Information – 10 Tips


Target, Google, Yahoo, and eBay have all sent out announcements to change your password and secure your personal data.

When visiting a website you enter personal information sometimes without even knowing it.

eBay said that its corporate network was hacked and hackers obtained names, encrypted passwords, e-mail addresses, home addresses, and phone numbers.

Cyber-security experts say that this information leak could lead to spam e-mails and bogus applications.

To avoid cyber-criminals from accessing your personal data, follow these tips on how to protect yourself.

1.  Strong Passwords

Never, never, never use an easy-to-guess password for any of your accounts.  ie. password, 123456, admin

You know you are not supposed to do it, but you do anyway, right?

That is until your identity gets stolen and your life has entered into a state of chaos. Here’s how to create a strong password.

2.  Creative Passwords

Experts advise you to use complex passwords with multiple characters and numbers in them.

Thankfully most technologically advanced companies know the importance in this, so you are forced to create a complex password.

3.  Use Different Passwords

This is a very bad habit and increases the risk of all your accounts being tampered with.

A hacker can begin to profile a victim that uses the same password or very similar variations of a password to hack into accounts.

If one of the accounts are linked with a payment method, then your money is that much closer to being stolen.

Great Read: 10 Tips for Computer Security

4.  Do Not Use Family Names or Pet Names

Social media sites give-a-way more information than sometimes realized.  Personal data like; birthdays, pet names, and even a persons obsessions are public to followers and depending on your preference settings, possibly everyone.

Many people use their pet’s name for their password.  If a person is so into their pet that they would use it as a password, that pets name is probably posted on their social media site somewhere.

5.  Avoid Sharing Information

Avoid sharing credit card information on retail, e-commerce, or social networking sites.

Just by stating you have a specific credit card, provides information that cyber-crooks can tug on.

When posting personal information online, be sure not to share personal details because it can remain online for an infinite amount of time.

6.  Know Your Stuff

When receiving an email from an unknown sender, check the information to make sure all details make sense.

Gauge the name, email address, spelling, and format to see if their are visible red flags.  Cyber-criminals are getting witty and starting to put more detail into these emails.

Logos are being swiped from the legitimate companies and put into emails to fool users.

Even if you receive an email that is from a friend, it is important to know that their account may have been tampered with.

7.  Know Whats Bogus

If you reply to a bogus email, then a signal to hackers may be sent to other hackers for more spam emails to be sent out to you.

If anyone asks for log-in details, personal details, or for you to call a number within the email, refrain from further compliance.

8.  Legitimacy

Place your cursor or mouse over the website url and see what appears.  If there are a bunch of numbers or random characters, it may be a spam site.

Fake sites and web links sometimes have addresses that do not match the organization in the stated email.

Look for any grammar mistakes or spelling errors.  If the site is secure, the Web address should start with a “https”.

A green padlock in the address bar will often show that the website is secure and safe to visit.

9.  What to do if hacked

Change all your FTP, software, and email passwords.  Write them down on paper, do not save your password to your computer.

Run an antivirus scan on your computer.  Here are come recommended resources:

Excellent malware scanning software, with a free download option.

Start with Microsoft’s website for free or low cost security options.

CNET writes fairly current reviews on the latest antivirus apps. I would start here.

10.  Close Your Account

Sometimes closing your account is safer and will limit the risk of hackers taking over your personal data.

Information associated with compromised accounts can be stored in other places.   Take into consideration to see weather information on a website is encrypted from one end to another, and stored securely.

Users are responsible for checking the website and making sure it is trustworthy.

Do you need professional advise to know if your computer has been compromised?


If you suspect your computer is infected with a virus or malware, Call us to have it safely removed! (619)325-0990


photo credit: Don Hankins via photopin cc

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