With the incredible boom in social media the number of websites we are signed-up to, is constantly rising, from Facebook, to EduGeek, online banking to shopping etc, it is near impossible to remember all the different passwords, usernames and security questions. So the simple solution? Make them all the same of course.
And you’ve just made your first mistake. I made it too, and I’m sure we’re not alone. So why is it important to be cautious with your passwords? Well, your Social Media passwords are valuable, especially to cyber criminals
So how can my Social Media log in details be given a value?
Every time a data breach occurs it influences the black market. When Target Corp systems were compromised it caused an influx of credit card details to the online ‘underground’ market – with the number of details stolen, rumoured to be around the 40million mark (not including the additional 70million or so, names and addresses which were stolen).
Breaches like this cause a surge of data which overloads the black market with credit card information and as the rule of supply and demand goes, this reduces the value to cyber criminals. While once described as ‘the currency of the black market’ the value of credit card information now decreases very quickly. The telegraph reports that the price attached to such data tends to range from $20-$40 when ‘fresh’ but rapidly drops to around $2 once deemed ‘stale’.
In contrast, social networking log-in credentials can be valued from around $16 up to a shocking - $325, according to the Telegraph. The reason being, cyber criminals can obtain far more information about an individual from their social networks, and this is reflected in the monetary value. The amount of data social networking sites hold about you is substantial, and can be used for the theft of your identity -worryingly this doesn’t just affect you, the cyber criminals will also gain trusted access to all your contacts too.
I may be painting the picture for a somewhat dangerous, bleak, online future?
Well, it doesn’t have to be.
According to The Independent Press there is no guarantee that you can be 100% safe from cybercrime, but if you follow these simple steps you will – at the least – reduce the risk of becoming a cyber-victim;
- Alternate passwords between accounts, use a capital letter, and possibly add a symbol at the end, further reinforcing it
- You could alternate the symbol from one account to the next, so you will only have that one symbol to remember for each account, i.e. BlaBlaBla789! – Facebook
- Do not use your email as a username, this streamlines the process for cyber criminals to connect the dots of your additional accounts using that email address.
- Get a firewall, keep it up-to-date.
- NEVER click on a link in an email, EVEN if you think you trust the sender, direct yourself to the URL independently on your browser.
- Bookmark your known online banking page, go there first, or call your bank directly. DON’T click the link, just to reiterate… again.
- Ensure all of your mobile devices are password-secured, or locked in some way, and protected so if stolen thieves will not have full access to all your synced accounts (i.e. social networking, email, banking…)
- Be wary of apps and WiFi hotspots, both have reduced security levels, and can easily mask criminal activity.
All the brilliant sites and resources available online are there to be enjoyed, but stay safe and secure so your data doesn’t end up in the wrong hands…..oh and don’t forget to tell your friends too, easily share this blog with the buttons below.
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