Safe online Practical tips, 1 of 8, to stay safe online

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Tech folks love to say: “Passwords are like underwear — don’t let people see it, change it very often, and do not share it with strangers.”

A strong password is harder for attackers to guess or crack using automated tools. Instead of a fool’s password like, “password123”, be innovative. Create a password like “P@ssw0rd!23”. You notice the capital P, the @ for a, capital 0, and ! for 1. These random special characters make a rather simple password uncrackable.

For ideas on password generation, check out, https://www.lastpass.com/features/password-generator.

Once I was approached to help a victim to online identity theft I will call Jane. She had used “jane123jane” for all her social media and email accounts. She woke up to several missed calls from friends and relatives worried about her wellbeing. Her email was hacked because the password was too easy to guess. The hacker sent bulk emails to all her contacts asking for support, that she had been involved in an accident and they had taken her to hospital, she needed money so they would work on her. It was urgent, and that a well wisher was helping follow up since she was unwell. The criminals had found an accomplish in Uganda whose unregistered SIM card they were using to receive any help! Cyber criminals are so organized and structured in ways you cannot believe.

Thanks to our intervention, we were able to follow clear communication protocols — report a police case, inform family and friends, report the matter to the concerned social media and cloud email providers — as well as conduct offensive recovery of the email.

The experience taught Jane the importance of using unique and strong passwords for each account, significantly reducing her risk of being hacked again.

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