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Is Your Email and Facebook Safe From Hackers?

I worked with a client this past week who had her Gmail and Facebook accounts hacked and taken over. By the time we recovered the accounts, a process that took several days, lots of stress and quite a few phone calls, the hackers had spammed everyone in her address book and then deleted all of her contacts which included both her personal and work contacts.

There is no way to 100% protect yourself against hackers and cyber crime. It seems that hackers are increasingly targeting Facebook accounts and free email accounts because there is no direct customer service and it takes quite a bit of time to realize something has been hacked, submit the online forms to report the hack and have them shut down the accounts. This process gives the hackers plenty of time to do what they want with your contacts while posing as you.

Here are the tips that we learned this past week to improve your protection. You may already be doing many of these, but please double check my list and be sure.

  • Do NOT have the same password for your email and Facebook accounts.
  • Change your passwords often.
  • Make your passwords a random combination of letter and numbers or use a phrase. Include symbols, capital letters and numbers to make it harder to duplicate.
  • Make sure you have good anti-virus software on your computer and make sure it is set for regular scans and updates to that it will protect you from the latest threats.
  • Hackers can also infect your computer with ‘key logger’ programs that will allow them to track your keystrokes and get your passwords. Consider downloading a malware detection program to check for key loggers.
  • Don’t use real answers to your security questions. It is much easier for a hacker to find out your real answers.
  • Back up your contacts in a physical file (like a .csv file saved on disk or elsewhere on your computer) so that if your online account gets hacked, you won’t have to rebuild your database.
  • Make sure you empty your email trash and sent items folder often.

These criminals are constantly changing the ways in which they target victims, so we can all just help each other stay on top of the latest and greatest ways to protect ourselves.

If you liked today’s post, you’re welcome to use it in your own ezine or blog as long as you include the following blurb: Certified Professional Organizer, Tara Donohue Rudo, CPO, helps families, solopreneurs and mompreneurs focus on what is important. Get her FREE weekly tips and advice at www.NoMorePiles.com . Photo is courtesy of Keerati & www.freedigitalphotos.net

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