Fight back against hacks

Them's fighting (pass)words

The recent discovery of the massive “Heartbleed Bug” has made online security top-of-mind for just about everyone who does anything on the Web. “Is my private information safe?” they’re asking. “Have my passwords been compromised?”

While Internet companies like GoDaddy work tirelessly to guard against attacks like Heartbleed and to update services deemed vulnerable in their wake, it’s always a smart move to take the extra precautions needed to protect yourself and your business online from hacks.

Here are some best practices:

Use anti-virus software. Install anti-virus software that offers real-time protection. Plus, scan your computer on a regular basis (at least once a week).

Make those updates. Slam the door on hackers by making the regular updates needed for your computer’s operating system and software — including your anti-virus software — to work like they’re supposed to.  And don’t hesitate to make necessary website updates, including updates to content management systems and plugins.

Be cautious. Ready to click an intriguing link or download an attachment? Stop. First, make sure the source is safe and your anti-virus software has inspected the attachment. Hover over links, or type URLs into a Web browser directly, to sleuth them out. Likewise, don’t open email messages if you don’t recognize the sender or if something seems odd, such as the subject line.

Use strong, unique passwords. Dog’s name? Favorite color? If you use the same, weak password for multiple accounts, it won’t take long for a hacker to crack that password and access your personal information. To better protect your accounts, use a different, strong password for each account. To learn more, see Password Basics and Generating a Strong Password.

Take that extra step. Seriously consider adding two-factor (also known as two-step) authentication to your accounts. Check out the easy-to-understand way Google® spam master Matt Cutts described this security measure as combining “something you know (like a password) and something you have, which can be an object like a phone.” At GoDaddy, after customers with two-step authentication log into their accounts normally using their password, we send a unique code to the phone number on file.

As long as there’s an Internet, there will be individuals who try to exploit it. Do what it takes to protect yourself online.

Image by: San Diego Shooter via Compfight cc