In this age of social networks, every user have a few number of email and social accounts. Some users have a big number of used and unused email and social networking accounts. Some email accounts (example, personal) may contains highly confidential details like banking account details, transaction details and some times with passwords and login information of other email and social networking accounts. These email accounts are highly prone to hacking and other vulnerabilities, due to its contests. We must secure such accounts to secure the online data stored in it. Almost all of these accounts are operated by the third party companies, we have to corporate with them to keep it safe and secure. We should read the security guidelines and techniques provided by such companies to secure the accounts with them.
Unfortunately, most of the internet users are not aware of this fact, especially the beginners and the first time users. As they don’t have any idea about the account hacking and content protection problems, they give less priority or no priority to keep there account safe. Here in eDoctor we are taking this issues more seriously, so we encourage our users to use the best known methods to keep there account safe from prying eyes.
The common problem that we noticed from the part of most of the users is using a single password on different/all accounts. The problem is, if one account gets compromised, there is a great possibility of hacking the rest of the account using the same method. Most of the time the account itself carry the links and details to your other accounts. The second thing is using a weak password or using a common word or using a part of your name in the password or ending or starting a password with easily guessable options like 123 or 987 or 321 etc. I have noticed a lot of experienced users using there name or nickname as passwords.Most of the users simply use there nickname as passwords like, ‘nickname123’. This type of password are easily hackable, as you provided your nickname somewhere in some social site or may be included in any comments or in any associated accounts. In this age of internet era, it requires no time to find one’s details online with in a few seconds. We have noticed that some of the users use some public computer to access there online accounts and some users never take any initiative to close their account after the use. This writer several times noticed such problems when using public computer, where the email account home address sometimes directly opens some last used accounts ! some users give less priority to logging out from the account. some of them haven’t any idea about the ‘logout’ button ! Ya, it’s true, I have noticed several times, some users close the tab after checking there Facebook or email account without logging out from there account. They may believe that after closing the tab no can see there account. That’s not true, if the browser has enabled the option to save the last used address functionality, you email account will automatically loads and be visible to the next user using the same browser. In this contest we request to our users to give high priority in this things to keep your account safe and secure.
eDoctor highly recommend to use a unique password for each account or website you use. If you followed this technique, if one account gets compromised, the rest are safe. Also, use a secure browser and computer to accessing the accounts. We highly recommend you to enable an email address to get any password change notification. If you forget your password, you’ll be able to get instructions for resetting it emailed to that address. So, if a user or hacker try to change your password you will get a notification about the password change in your email. I gave enough importance to this, when I get an email from Facebook about a password change request of one of my Facebook account in my email. I shocked, and denied the password change and also informed the Facebook about the attack !
Another thing that you should remember is to change your password often, and make sure you never re-use passwords, even across social networking sites. Because if one site is compromised, it makes it much easier for someone to try logging in (known as brute-forcing) with those leaked credentials on other accounts. Anything that controls access to your personal identity such as online banking, email and social media should be protected with special care. You should do this things only from your primary and private email account that has been registered with a well known service providers like Google, Microsoft, etc. and we recommended to often check this accounts to find any vulnerability happened in theses accounts.
Next step is use strong passwords. Password managers such as LastPass and KeePass can be used to create long and strong passwords. These services also remember the passwords and fill them in for you. If you are using a password manager, it’s important to pick a password manager that has secure universal access and allows you to check if you are re-using your passwords elsewhere.
Not only using a long and strong password won’t secure your account, if you shared it with other unauthorized third-party apps. The important way to protect your account is to be cautious when giving your password to third-party apps, as these third-party services can gain full access to your account.
Here are some simple steps to follow to keep your online accounts more safe and secure ;
- Use only reputed email service providers, such as Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, etc. They have some security measures to keep your account safe.
- Use a strong password. A password that contains a mixture of letters and numbers is a better way to securing your password. Typically, a strong password will contain a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters; numbers; and special characters. Never include your birth date or your name in your passwords. If possible change the passwords at regular interval. Some email or social media service providers may notify you to change the passwords every 30, 60 or 90 days, never ignore such mails. And, remember to keep your password private at all times.
- Try to keep your private email ID and its password as a confidential information. Never do online transactions from cyber cafes like managing your website server, shopping online, transferring money, doing banking deals, etc.
- Every service provider have some ways to secure the account safe. You should use the security questions and answers wisely. Provide a wise answer (that you only know) to the security question, never use phone numbers, pincode, etc.
- Do not add any easily guessable clue in your password remember online clue form and do not keep a copy of your online account login details on the email or on your system. Instead, keep a copy of your password written down somewhere on your personal diary.
- Before leaving the public computer, sign out from each account that you have logged into. Also log out from any chat or messengers running in background or in the system tray.
- Please never copy and paste passwords or other sensitive information, because the copied data remains saved in the clipboard, it can be pasted by someone else after you. Remember, there are some clipboards tools are available which can save up to 50 clipboard data !
- Some sites offers two-factor authentication. Follow the method. If you are using some content management platform for creating your website keep the platform updated and current at all times. If any security updates announced, do it immediately. If you are worried about losing your valuable data, never shy to back up your data (do it daily, weekly, monthly based on the update interval and importance).
- Internet surfing increases the risk of having malware installed on your computer. Use a good antivirus and spyware destroyer in your computer. Update antivirus and firewall software regularly. Please take care when opening suspicious or unsolicited emails, attachments and links. Most antivirus and internet security suites will block or quarantine such attacks effectively.
- Very careful when using unprotected public networks and public computers. I have an experience while using a public computer, as the toolbar installed on the browser suddenly displayed my password that I entered on the Gmail account !
- Use a Public and Private email address and periodically change your passwords. You can use your public account from anywhere, thus you can hide your private account. Never link your private and public accounts.
- When using the social networks like Facebook or email accounts, be sure to use HTTPS instead of HTTP. Most of the reputed service providers have HTTPS facility, HTTPS encrypts your communications.
- Most accounts allows you to receive text notifications whenever your account is accessed from a device other than your primary computer or mobile device. You can enable the facility from the account settings of the account. Important: Set up proper notifications to your email or mobile device about any password change or reset.
- The email address you use for social networks should be distinct from the one you use for doing online banking or Paypal account. You can use your public email address to use with your social networking sites.
- Finally, if you are a victim of account theft, immediately contact the respective account provider. Most of the services offers live chat and submit support ticket facility. Contact the support desk immediately for their help to block or shut the account down to stop further loss or theft.
These are some methods that you can adopt to keep account safe. Never keep any account unattended for a long period. If you don’t want to use a service furthermore or the service was outdated, then export the details, messages, contacts, photos, videos, settings, etc.. to another active account or to your computer (backup) and set to forward further emails or messages to the old account to your active account before closing that account.
What you think about this suggestions ? Can you give more? What methods you are adopting to safe guard your online accounts?