“Experience is a hard master but only fools will have no other,” Benjamin Franklin once said. Yeah. That school of hard knocks… it hurts sometimes.
I'm in the process of backing up every scrap of data on my computer. It's taking me weeks, because do you have any idea how much stuff I have on this thing? Business receipts, tax returns,website backups, photos to every place we've traveled to in 10 years, and more and more and more. I never fully recovered after that massive computer virus in January and the blog hack in May. Oh, everything is clean but I still have bits and pieces of stuff to do… like back up my data.
I'm still not 100% sure how the hacker gained access to my websites on the server. It was either a malware-infested plugin or a theme script vulnerability. Or both. Either way, I still have nightmares about the whole thing. So now I've got anti-hacker religion. I'm a convert of online security, yes, I am. And hopefully I can offer a few suggestions and tips that may save your sanity!
For example — how strong are your passwords? Check out these scary stats:
- If you have 6 characters in your password with no symbol, it only takes a professional .000224 seconds.
- If you have 10 characters and one symbol in your password, it takes up to 20 days for a professional to break in.
- 6.6% of victims of identity fraud are smartphone owners
- 6.8% of victims are social media users who click on the applications
- 8.2% of victims are social media users who have “checked in” using their smartphone GPS
- 10.1% of victims are LinkedIn users
You can see a nifty infographic about password safety here: How hack friendly is your password?.
I've always been pretty good about passwords. I have these 25-digit monsters with letters, number, and symbols. It's the protection amidst the uncontrolled environment that freaks me out. Because we travel, I use a lot of credit cards. I hate using them. Whenever I hand a card to someone, I always shudder inside. I am giving them full-fledged access to my financial information…
For protection on that level, you need a company to help, like LifeLock on Facebook. They monitor everything, offer some other features (I love the lost wallet protection), and let you know if you've been hacked. They don't leave you in the cold, either — they have people who will help get you out of the mess.
The Internet is so cool, it's such a shame that it can be so creepy, too. Take my advice — back up your stuff, monitor your information, use stromng passwords BEFORE anything bad happens.