With the ever-increasing amount of information we all store online, the stakes for securing our accounts are rising every day. Passwords alone are often failing to give us the protection we need, which leaves it up to us to make hackers’ work more difficult.
The story of Wired technology journalist, Mat Honan, and how his online life was devastated back in 2012 shows that even the most experienced Internet users can fall prey to hacker tactics.
“Previously, when I had the option for ease-of-use versus security, I always went the easy route,” wrote Mat. “[…] I never set up dedicated (and secret) email accounts for password management. I take those steps now.”
Creating these accounts is one of the simplest and most powerful tricks the average user can leverage to stay one step ahead of would-be attackers.
The method behind the madness is simple: if a hacker knows where your password recovery email will go, it’s a potentially devastating line of attack. The intruder can use this information to reset your password, locking you out of your own account. As well, they can use it to gain access to almost every online service you use, including your Internet banking.
With free email accounts available at the click of a button, this highly effective security step is something that almost any Internet user can do. Outlook.com, Gmail and Yahoo all provide great free email addresses that you can use for password recovery. Just sign up for a new address and you’ll be well on your way to adding another layer of security to your accounts.
Of course, ensure you choose a new email address that doesn’t contain any ‘guessable’ information about you. Pet names, your birthday, address, hobbies, friends or partners names are all best avoided for security’s sake.
Once you have established your new address, it’s simply a matter of logging in to your main accounts to change your password recovery email on file. Google, Apple, Yahoo and most other major sites make this process easy. Unless you forget your password, you’ll never need to check the new email.
It’s easy to see that with just a token effort, you can make your account more secure. For more simple security tips, stay tuned to the BreachAlarm blog.