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You have been Hacked, now what?

Have you ever been notified by a Facebook friend that your account has been hacked? Have you received an email saying your iCloud password needs to be changed – Just Click Here! Do you write down your passwords on a notepad you keep in the top drawer of your desk, or do you just recycle the same password for everything? It’s more important than ever to protect yourself online.

Since we do pretty much everything online, we have to sign up for an account, usually using an email and password. Most everyone has one password they use for everything, including their email account. Even if this password is super secure, you are still vulnerable. One breach of any account, and a hacker has access to your email and potentially all your other accounts.

Here are five ways to protect yourself online.

Get a Password Manager

A Password Manager is a free app and browser extension that will save all your passwords and anything else important. They also have the ability to generate a long random password for all your new accounts. This way you can have a different super secure password for each of your accounts. While this won’t actively protect you online, it will give you peace of mind that if one account is comprimised, your entire life won’t be.

There is one caveat, you have to use a secure password for the Password Manager itself. I suggest using a sentence you can easily remember. Maybe this is a quote from your favorite author or a line from your favorite TV show. Either way, it should be long and contain capitals, punctuation, and possibly numbers.

I personally use Bitwarden. It syncs among my Chrome extension, online, and the app on my phone. When I need to supply my login information, it can automatically fill in the required information. Bitwarden can also be used to store notes, credit card numbers, and alarm codes.

Keep your Computer and Virus Checker up-to-date

The easiest way to protect yourself online from viruses, trojans and malware is to keep your operating system and virus checker on your computer up-to-date. Windows 10 will do automatic updates, and includes the Windows Security Essentials suite for online protection.

This will not completely protect you from all threats, you still need to keep a look out for suspicious activity. You don’t want to click on links in your email from people you don’t know. This is how phishing attacks work. It may look like it came from your bank, but it probably didn’t.

Enable Two-Factor Authentication

Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) is becoming more popular with large online businesses, including banks and other money accounts. This option requires you to use an additional way to authenticate yourself after you enter your username and password. The most common way is to get a text message with a one-time code. 2FA is an easy way to protect your accounts online.

Using this option is great because you already have your phone with you and text messages are pretty much free. It’s just one more step to ensure your account is safe. Check the account options after you log in to see if you can enable two-factor authentication.

Other options for two-factor authentication include phone calls, emails, and the use of an authenticator app.

Check if Your Info is For Sale on the Dark Web

We have all heard about the Dark Web. It’s an ethereal place in the shady corners of the Internet where bad guys lurk. In fact it’s just servers on the Internet with specific addresses that aren’t in Google’s database, and that require different software to access. Because of the secrecy, this is where hackers buy and sell your data.

You can check if your information is on the Dark Web. I use this site. You just enter your email address and it will list all the places where your information was stolen and put on the Dark Web for sale. Make sure you check all your email addresses. If you find a breach, it’s best to change your email password, and the password on the site where the data was hacked.

Use a VPN

When you are out and about on a public Wi-Fi hotspot, your information online can be collected, or even stolen without your knowledge. When I look at public Wi-Fi hotspots, most are not secure and show every device connected. This is a hackers dream.

VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. This means that when you connect to a Wi-Fi hotspot, all your data is encrypted and secured. You can browse the Internet as normal, knowing your information is secure.

There are many VPN services. I would suggest NordVPN. It is very inexpensive, fast, and works on your computer and phone.

Protecting yourself online is important. If you have been hacked, or suspect something is going on, it is best to lock down all your accounts by changing your password and enabling two-factor authentication if available. It may also be time to reinstall the OS on your computer and be aware of suspicious emails.

5 Ways to Protect Yourself Online
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