Connected for Business shares helpful tips on passwords, protecting your Twitter account and how to defend against spam. This article originally appeared on Connectedforbusiness.ca.
Did you know online fraud costs Canadians US$3 billion per year? And that the growing popularity of smartphones, tablets and open Wi-Fi networks are making us more vulnerable to online fraud and other forms of cybercrime?
These figures, from an October 2013 report by security-software firm Symantec Corp., are a startling reminder for us all to be careful as technology changes. According to Symantec’s Canadian director of consumer solutions, Lynne Hargrove, cybercrime rates have doubled since 2012, with offences ranging from credit-card fraud to identity theft.
If you run a small business, the costs associated with fraud can cripple, or even sink, your company. But there are simple ways to help protect your website, email and digital devices from breach. These aren’t new tips; you’ve heard them before. But perhaps now is a good time for a reminder on the basics of online protection. Grab a seat. Class is in session.
1. Create Crack-Proof Passwords
From mobile devices to desktop computers, servers to cloud computing, everything seems to require a password these days. And while it may be tempting to use the simplest passcode, this is a bad idea. After all, if someone can guess it, then you’re inviting potential harm into your business. As a general rule, don’t use a birthday or maiden name. Instead, use a mixture of numbers, upper and lowercase letters, and symbols for a password that’s at least eight characters long.
Tip: Think of a phrase that’s easy for you to remember. Now take the first letter of each word in the phrase and this is your password. Include caps and numbers where possible or add them to the end.
Example: 2 out of 3 ain’t bad / Password: 2oo3ab – OR – Bruce Springsteen sings Born in the USA / Password: BSsBitUSA
2. Change Your Passwords Frequently
It’s this simple – the longer you use the same password, the more vulnerable you are to attacks. So, by changing your passwords monthly, or every 60 days, you’re making it that much harder for a hacker to figure it out.
3. Don’t Respond To Spam
We all deal with spam, and while some of it goes directly into our spam filters to be deleted, other phishing schemes can be much more subtle and dangerous. You might even receive a spam message where the sender is one of your contacts. If you do receive something odd from a contact, reply to the person in a separate, new email. Also, it goes without saying, don’t ever reply to spam, even out of spite. Simply delete.
4. Change Your Permissions If Your Twitter Account Is Hacked
If your Twitter account is compromised, log in and change your password. Select a brand-new passcode. Then, while logged in, revoke all connections to third-party applications that you don’t recognize. As a preventative measure, you can also install login verification. To log into Twitter, you will need to enter your password, and then enter a separate, six-digit code sent to your smartphone. This way, if someone tries to access your account, they won’t be able to sign in.
How To Set Up SMS Login Verification
1. Log in to Twitter and go to your security and privacy settings.
2. Select the option to “send login verification requests to my phone.”
3. When prompted, click OK, send me a message.
4. Once you receive the verification message, click Yes and enter in your password when prompted.