Stolen credentials are responsible for a staggering number of hacked websites. Whether it is the recent attacks on Sony or leaked pictures of your favorite celebrities, it usually starts with a stolen username and a password. With stolen credentials there is no limit to the damage that can be done.

Here are 5 things that you can do to decrease the likelihood that you will fall victim to one of these types of attacks:

Manage Your Passwords

The average user has 26 protected accounts but only 5 passwords. If this is the case a leak can compromise multiple accounts.

  • Use passwords with capitalization, symbols and numbers. 1qW#$?fyU7* is a lot harder to guess than redrover, even for a computer.
  • Use password tools. They encrypt and securely store your password information. LastPass is our favorite.
  • Don’t use the same username and password for all of your accounts. If you only have one username and password you greatly increase the chances of having it compromised.

Take Care of Your Computer

It is important to scan your computer for viruses, even if you have a Mac. Bitdefender, our favorite free antivirus program, can be download through the App Store for Mac or by clicking here for Windows.

  • Running a virus program just once is not enough. Use them often and keep them updated.
  • Backup your data. If you have a virus you may need to clear your hard drive to eliminate it. Having your important files stored in a safe location will make this faster and easier.
  • Keep Your Browser Current. There is no reason you should not keep your browser up to date unless you work at a company that requires old browsers. If that is the case then you might want to find another job.

Be Safe with Email

Email is the least secure way to send or store data. A hacked account can be devastating, especially if you have sensitive information in your emails. If you do not recognize who it is from, or it seems misplaced, contact the sender to see if it was actually sent by them.

  • Don’t send credentials in an email. Delete them if they have been sent to you.
  • Don’t open suspicious attachments or links in your email.
  • If you use Gmail check out this article for ways to quickly improve your security.

Use Secure FTP

Sensitive information may be exposed when transferring files to a server. If you are not using a secure method the information can easily be stolen.

  • Always use SFTP when connecting to your website.
  • Avoid FTP clients on this list.

Limit Users

The more users there are the more opportunities there are for a site to be hacked.

  • Remove old users from your application as soon as possible.
  • Give access only to the people who need it.
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