Abraham Wallin


The Easiest New Year's Resolution Everyone Should Do

These six steps to protecting your identity online will be the easiest New Year's resolution you make this year.

If you’ve already got New Year’s resolutions, these six steps to protecting your identity online will be the easiest one of the bunch, and will only take a few hours. The year 2012 may well be remembered as the year we woke up to the threat hackers pose to our online identities. One of the year’s most read stories was Mat Honan’s horrifying account of having his online identity stolen and the subsequent loss of data that resulted because a hacker wanted to take his Twitter account on a mischievous joy ride. After reading about the attack I spent a couple hours to safeguard my own accounts in order to minimize the chance such an attack could happen to me. With the new year upon us, now is the perfect time to take your own precautions.

The most frightening aspect of the attack Honan suffered was that his passwords were never compromised. The hackers gained access to his Twitter, Gmail, Amazon, and Apple accounts through social engineering—essentially they exploited system vulnerabilities and tricked customer service agents into resetting passwords in order to take control of his accounts. Not once did they actually figure out one of his passwords.

With our lives becoming more digital each day it’s essential we start taking some precautions. While there is no 100 percent guarantee against being attacked these seven steps will certainly help. You don’t have to tackle every step at once, or even in order, every bit makes your digital world a bit more secure—so start today with at least one of these steps.

Step 1: Use strong passwords (time requirement: ongoing + 2-4 hours to fix old passwords)
Passwords have always been a thorn in our side. They’re often too short or too common, easy to hack, or too long you can’t remember them. The sad truth is even the best ones may not be enough to keep you safe but you’ll be significantly safer if you keep these tips in mind when creating your passwords.

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