Why you will be hacked

 In Security

I recently heard a story about a person who had their Uber account hacked which resulted in someone being able to order Uber trips using their account – and their credit card – halfway across the world. This story illustrates how hackers are constantly on the lookout for new ways to defraud us and how we need to be ever vigilant of our online security.

The first thing to understand is why you should care about having good online security and strong passwords. And believe me you should care. Like insurance, this stuff is a bit boring to the non-technical person but failure to invest time into it can lead to a lot of pain!

How many of your accounts have the same password?

Think about all the times you’ve set up an online account for something. It might have been to buy something online. Probably without too much thought, you went through the process of buying the goods which included setting up an account with that online retailer. You may have only purchased from the retailer the once, however, your account remains.

Now let’s say that website gets hacked and your account details, including your password, are copied down as part of that hack. Once the hackers have your details they will try to use your password to get access to other online services.

This is where people come unstuck. If you use the same password or similar passwords for everything then, once the hackers have your account details, they’ll use them to try to access all your other accounts. They don’t even need to know which other online accounts you have, they’ll just try all the big ones like Dropbox, LinkedIn, Facebook, and so on. Once they gain access to these bigger accounts, they can then use them for all sorts of fraudulent activity; like stealing your identity or ordering Uber trips. If they get into something like Gmail, then you’re really in trouble because they can use email password resets to gain access to even more of your accounts – and lock you out of them!

You may have been hacked already

There have been some pretty big hacks in the last 10 years which include companies like LinkedIn, Dropbox, Yahoo and Adobe. You can find out if you have been effected by these hacks by going to haveibeenpwned.com. Simply put in any of your email addresses and you will find out any accounts that have been compromised. If any come up then I highly recommend changing the password on ALL your online accounts, RIGHT NOW.

When I did this I was surprised to find I’ve had quite a few of my own accounts compromised.

I really can’t impress highly enough how important it is to take online security seriously. A lot of people I talk to have a pretty relaxed attitude about this; but speak to anyone who has been defrauded or had their identity stolen and you will find out how painful and stressful it is when hackers get the better of you.

If you need some help improving your online security, drop me a line. It really is best not to put this sort of thing off.

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