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With the celebrity photo hack all over the news, security is getting some long-overdue attention.

I wanted to weigh in with some security best practices, so here goes.

How did these accounts get hacked? The prevailing theory is that their email was guessed (like first initial, last name) and then the security questions asked for password recovery were found on Google, or guessed.

Here's what YOU should do to keep your info safe online:

1. Use a password manager to store, and generate, good strong passwords. I recommend LastPass.com. Free on computers, $12/year on mobile devices.

2. When you create an account on a service, and are asked to set up "security" questions...LIE ON YOUR ANSWERS! Speculation is (no one knows for sure) that hackers got a hold of a celebrity's email account, and then answered their "security" questions to get access to the account. LIE ABOUT YOUR ANSWERS! Anyone, especially celebrities, can have their information found through a quick Google search, and thus, their account hacked, IF THEY ANSWER THE QUESTIONS HONESTLY! LIE about the answers, AND THEN RECORD YOUR LIES SOMEWHERE, LIKE YOUR CONTACT MANAGER. If you use a Contact Manager, then YOU are responsible to make sure you keep a copy of it just in case you need those answers again.

 

3. Turn on two factor authentication. This basically means you need three things to login - a userid, a password, and a code that changes every minute. The code can be sent via a text message, or if you have a smartphone, via an app like Google Authenticator.

Cloud services are great! They can copy your contacts and calendar apppointments acrosss all your computers, tablets and phones, and you always have a backup in the cloud. But That information, and much more, like photos, can be compromised if you don't take security seriously.

Don't be a victim. Secure your cloud and other accounts with two-factor authentication.

Two-factor authentication is supported on these common services:

To read more in depth, go to LifeHacker's article here.

And to read more about creative security answers, read David Pogue's article here.

 

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