Anthony Green, cofounder of Tracer Digital and program lead for cybersecurity at University of British Columbia, Richmond, British Columbia, Canada. TracerDigital.ca
Don’t panic if you’ve been hacked. Here are five steps to take immediately to control the damage and secure your accounts going forward…
Step #1: Change your passwords. Start with your finance and health accounts, e-mail account and password manager, since that is the key to your other accounts. Never use the same credentials for different accounts. Create a robust password from the names of objects around your room or four randomly selected dictionary words, plus a number
and special character. Example: “BoxGuitarWickedBoot#3” is better than “i8*4Rmx$19.” Each additional character makes a password harder to hack.
Step #2: Turn on multifactor authentication for each account, so a password alone is not sufficient to access the account.
Step #3: Back up your data regularly using iCloud, Google Cloud or DropBox.
Step #4: Perform a factory reset. Do this with any device that may be compromised.
Step #5: Start monitoring. Open an account with a service like Credit Karma that will alert you to new loans taken out in your name. Turn on alerts with your credit card companies so you’re notified of new transactions. Most banks have apps where you can enable notifications to let you know when the card has been used. You also can search using your e-mail address and/or phone at sites such as HaveIBeenPwned.com and Dehashed.com to see if accounts have been compromised.
If you’ve suffered an e-mail hack, send an e-mail to all your contacts to warn them. A blast e-mail is fine, but use the “bcc,” or “blind” copy, rather than allowing all those e-mail addresses to be visible to everyone on the list.