Recently, I’ve had three clients who have had their email hacked, and, consequently, their personal information compromised. Even with iron-clad passwords and good security firewalls and server protection, our emails are at risk every day. One mistaken click and a hacker has access to your email – giving them access to any and all the financial and personal information you have online.
“Not Me!” you’re saying, “I know better than to click on suspicious emails!”
Most people think they know better. However, each of the hacking instances mentioned above were scam emails sent to recipients by a familiar company account that my client does business with. The hackers had managed to create emails that looked and sounded completely authentic. In one case, it was a pdf file of an updated invoice from a known associate – that seems legitimate, right? Unfortunately, the attached file had Malware attached to it, and once opened, the hacker had complete access to the email account. This in turn, allowed them access to every account associated with that email. Think about all the accounts you access using your email – your bank accounts, credit cards, shopping accounts, health and business vendors…the list is endless.
Fortunately, there is ONE simple step you can take to prevent account hacking.
When you walk up to an ATM with your card in hand, you need to do more than just stick your card in the machine to take out $200 in cash. You also need to put in your private PIN to gain access to your account. This is known as Dual-Factor Authentication – two steps must occur to allow access to your account. Well, a simple and easy step you can take to begin to better protect your email account right now is to add Dual-Factor, also known as Two-Factor Authentication, to gain email account access. As simple as getting a code texted to your mobile phone as the second step to logging into your account, this method stops hackers in their dirty little tracks and takes almost no extra time or effort.
Hackers cannot replicate Dual-Factor Authentication.
Use Dual-Factor Authentication
Dual-Factor Authentication, requires two steps (factors) for access to your account. When logging into an account, the software will require another unique step after username and password that only you know (think, first pet’s name or street you grew up on) or send your cellphone a text message with a one-time code to type in for your second verification. This extra layer of security helps to ensure it is you logging in, and protects your account from hacking software. Because hackers cannot replicate dual-factor authentication, it is the best way to shield your accounts.
To determine if Dual-Factor Authorization is available, simply go into the Settings menu in your email software program to see what your security setup options are. It is very likely in the “Password & Security” settings is an option for this extra layer of security.
Imagine what your customers would think if you have to inform them that their personal or financial information has been compromised.
Better Safe than Sorry
Sadly, we have entered the days when a username and simple password no longer protects your identity or financial information. Once a hacker has accessed your computer, your personal and financial information is easy picking, and viruses and ransomware can be planted. If going to these extra steps sounds like a pain in the neck, imagine having your identity stolen or your bank accounts wiped out. Imagine what your customers would think if you have to inform them that their personal or financial information has been compromised. Setting up these safeguards and taking a few extra seconds during login is well worth the effort!
To learn how to set up Dual-Factor Authentication on your online accounts, check out this article.