From Sony to The Home Depot and celebrity cellphones, it seemed like no one was immune to hackers in 2014. “The big lesson of 2014 is everything is hack-able,” said Ken Colburn of Data Doctors. While cyber threats still loom in 2015, there are a few simple things you can do to help make yourself a less desirable target. Colburn says when it comes to protecting yourself, the first place to start is with your passwords.
“A lot of the things that you heard about in 2014 started with a weak password,” Colburn said. His suggestion is to make it a resolution to increase the length of your passwords today because an eight-character password can be cracked in about a minute. “Now, you can see a 17-character goes from one minute to two billion centuries,” Colburn said. Next, he says to make sure you have a good antivirus program and a solid backup system in place. You’ve probably heard it before but it still rings true: be very careful when it comes to emails because cyber criminals are becoming more clever than ever. “Email is the No. 1 way that you as an individual are going to be randomly exploited,” he said. “You’re going to be fooled into clicking on something. You’re going to be fooled into opening something, what have you.”
Finally, look into more secure ways to pay for things. Colburn recommends ditching the traditional credit card altogether if you can in favor of cash or your phone.
“These mobile payment platforms, things like Google Wallet, they act as kind of a proxy. They make you a lot less desirable as a target for hackers because there’s so many levels of encryption and security,” Colburn said. While Data Doctors cannot guarantee a hack-free 2015, Colburn says taking any one of these precautions will help make you a less likely target.