3 Ways Hackers Are Stealing Your Passwords

Aug 20, 2018 | IT Services

Online banking, shopping, and browsing is fun and convenient, but sadly there is always someone waiting in the shadows to ruin everything.

passwords

Online banking, shopping, and browsing are fun and convenient, but sadly there is always someone waiting in the shadows to ruin everything. As long as you’re using email, making purchases online, and managing accounts digitally you will still be a target of hackers. One of the best things you can do to help protect yourself is to understand how hackers are getting information in the first place. So here are three main ways hackers are stealing information and what precautions you can take to protect yourself.

 

Open Wi-Fi

We discussed before how to stay safe when using public Wi-Fi, but even if you do take great precautions, you should still avoid logging into any accounts while using open Wi-Fi. Many hackers will resort to Wi-Fi traffic monitoring to obtain usernames and passwords from unsuspecting users. Once someone has that information for one site, he or she can use other programs to test it on several others. So, if you use the same password or username for multiple accounts (which you indeed shouldn’t), each one could be compromised after one unsecured Wi-Fi session.

 

Phishing

The most commonly known trick here is a scammer will send what looks like a real email from a website you frequent – Amazon, eBay, or your bank. It will typically ask you to click a link to confirm some information. From there you will be prompted to enter your credential, and sometimes other personal information. Once you do that, your data is immediately compromised. Fortunately, this one is easy to avoid as most institutions would never ask for your info like this, so when you see an email asking for it, best to delete it. However, the more sophisticated phishing scams can be a little harder to spot. Sometimes a hacker will send an email with an enticing and innocent looking attachment. One click of that link and you just unknowingly installed a malicious JavaScript that can track everything you type from website URLs to your usernames and passwords. Best practice is to delete emails containing anything you didn’t ask for or are from someone you don’t know. If you get a dodgy looking email from a known contact, it doesn’t hurt to check with the sender to see if it’s legit.

 

Just Guessing

Sounds silly, but it’s a method many hackers employ to gain access to accounts. Sadly, many people use simplistic, default, passwords for more than one account. This type of practice makes life as a hacker much easier. No special software is needed when the master key to all of your accounts is “Password” or “12345” (sadly, these are still some of the most commonly used passwords). Other methods under this umbrella include running programs that go through the entire dictionary to try and guess the password. Similar to the dictionary method is spidering, a hacker tries terms related to a particular business they are targeting.

 

How to Protect Yourself

There are many ways to add extra layers of security to your accounts including:

  • Two-Step Verification: You can set up a code that goes to your smartphone that will be needed to access any accounts after the password is submitted.
  • Stronger Passwords: Having a potent mix of upper and lower case letters with numbers and symbols mixed throughout go a long way in protecting your account.
  • Don’t Click: As we said before if you get a dodgy looking email, don’t click anything.
  • PayPal: If you’re making purchases, especially on a site you’re not familiar with, consider using PayPal instead of handing over your credit card info to an unknown vendor.

 

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