Category Archives: Business Network Security

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Top 5 Reasons To Use Managed IT Services

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Top 5 Reasons To Use Managed IT Services

2019 is officially here and it’s the time to make (and try to stick to) resolutions. For businesses, January is a time for looking back on the year that was and for looking forward to the year that will be. This process typically centers around revenue, efficiency, how to grow, and ways to save. For most small to medium sized businesses, how IT fits into this big picture can be a headache or just downright confusing.

Top-5-Reasons-To-Use-Managed-IT-Services

Top 5 Reasons To Use Managed IT Services

Most large businesses have their own IT department that keeps their network, software, and cyber security up-to-date and running smoothly. Another, less glamorous, aspect of IT is keeping systems up-to-date with regulations and cyber security laws. How businesses handle their customers or clients information and the steps they take to protect it are governed by regulations and businesses that fail to follow these regulations leave themselves open to liability lawsuits. For small to medium sized businesses that “troubleshoot on the fly,” these regulations are sometimes unknown and therefore not followed.

How Managed IT Services Can Help Your Small to Medium Sized Business

For most small to medium sized businesses, the cost of having a fulltime employee(s) handling IT services is too high or there is simply not enough for them to do to justify the position. What happens without IT support is that a owner, manager or other tech-savvy employee usually assumes the role and does the updating and troubleshooting when it comes up. While this may work for a short period of time, in today’s world of advanced cyber-security threats stop-gap methods leave your business susceptible to cyber attacks and network failures. When you work with most Managed Service Providers you’re able to set up an IT support and service plan that fits your needs and budget.

Top 5 Reasons Your Business Needs Managed IT Services

 

  1. Cost of Professional IT Services – Using managed IT services allows you to set up a plan that uniquely fits your business and needs. You don’t pay for services you don’t need or use. Most managed service providers also have monthly or yearly rates, allowing you to set cost and business expenses. One other benefit, is that managed services help reduce your risk of network failures, again, reducing the cost of doing business.
  2. Access to Professional IT Services – Since most small to medium businesses aren’t able to justify having a full-time IT professional on the payroll they often leave themselves and business open to cyber threats and networks disasters. When using a managed service provider, you have access to highly trained IT professionals that you wouldn’t otherwise have access to. With managed services your business has access to IT professionals just like larger companies, which helps your business compete.
  3. Stay Up-To-Date With New Technology – IT professionals stay in the loop with all the new technology, apps, and software. They keep your business informed of cost-effective solutions and upgrades that you may otherwise not know of.
  4. Cyber-Security & Reducing Risks – There are a myriad of cyber and network risks that face you business. From compliance and network updates to phishing scams and employee error, managed service providers help defend your business from the daily threats it encounters; helping to eliminate downtime and saving our business money.
  5. Letting You Focus On Your Business – Unless your business is IT, you probably didn’t start your business so you could spend all your time focused on your network. Managed services can eliminate all those extra hours you and your employees spend on network issues allowing you to spend more of your work day focused the business of doing business.

 

Pros 4 Technology – Managed IT Services

Take your business into 2019 with Managed IT Services. At Pros 4 Technology we have training and experience to handle your business’ IT needs. Contact us today to get started with a No-Cost Network Audit. Let’s work together to achieve your business’ goals.

Defend Your Business Against Phishing Attacks

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Defend Your Business Against Phishing Attacks

We face cyber phishing attacks everyday. Most of us can spot the emails that come through our personal email accounts. The rich relative we never knew about, but wants to leave us “millions” if we only pay a small legal handling fee. The “too-good-to-be-true” sales and coupons that we need to download. But what about in our work and business life? What threat is posed by phishing attacks?

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How To Defend Your Business Against Phishing Attacks

Sophisticated Cyber Phishing Attacks

Phishing Attacks are one of the most common ways cyber-criminals infiltrate businesses. When it comes to gaining access to company information or using ransomware (malicious software that is used to hold a business network hostage until a ransom is paid), cybercriminals use advanced, sophisticated methods that aren’t easy to spot. These types of attacks are known as Advanced Persistent Threats, or APT.

What Are Advanced Persistent Threats?

Advanced Persistent Threat is the methodology behind sophisticated cyber-criminals. It is cyber-criminals playing the “long game.” Most of these types of attacks focus on particular businesses or entities and are not random. They are a culmination of research and the victim’s ability and willingness to pay. The best way to understand all the different facets of Advanced Persistent Threats is to talk about protecting your business from them at the same time.

How To Avoid Becoming A Victim of Business Phishing Scams

  1. Know Your Information – Do your employees know what information they can and cannot access? Do they know the value of the information? Do they respect current policies and procedures? Performing routine Risk Assessments will help you better understand the nature of the information your employees have access to and help you develop policies and plans to protect it. If your company handles large quantities of personally identifiable information or financial information of clients and customers, cyber-criminals will know it and makes your business more of a target. Make sure your employees know what your company policies are and the consequences for not following them.
  2. Keep Your Network Strong – You have all the bells and whistles you need to keep your network safe, or so you think. When was the last time you had your system tested? Having your network and its security tested by an expert can help find weaknesses that need to be addressed. Know which employees have access to what information. Audit positions and roles on an ongoing basis so that employees have access only to the information they need to do their jobs. By controlling and monitoring these access points, you’re adding layers of protection against phishing attacks.
  3. The Human Side of Network Security – With these Advanced Persistent Threats, cybercriminals are researching you, your employees, and your business. They’re looking for a way in. Oversharing on social media sites is one common way cyber-criminals gain information about your company structure and possible ways of constructing a successful phishing attack. Make sure your employees, especially upper-management, are aware of the threats posed by sharing company information on personal social media accounts. Training your employees on proper information sharing is key.
  4. Cyber Security Rules Everyone Should Follow
    • Check links and double check before you click. Take time to be sure of the source and the download. When people rush through tasks mistakes happen.
    • If you receive a phone call, text or email scam, report it! By reporting it you are making sure your colleagues and coworkers are on the alert.
    • Don’t be afraid to double check a request. Always err on the side of caution and make sure an information request is coming from a legitimate person who is authorized to receive the information.
    • Always have policies and procedures that are clear and concise. Too often business fall prey to phishing attacks because of personnel not following or understanding what company policy is.

Keep your business is safe from cyber phishing attacks. Contact us today to learn how we can help.

CEO Fraud Scams And Why They Are Successful

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CEO Fraud Scams And Why They Are Successful

Everyone want to keep the boss happy. Staying in their good-graces means promotions, job security and, usually, a stress-free work environment. When an email comes through from the boss marked “Urgent” our hearts race and we play through different scenarios before we even read it. Turns out they’re extremely busy and need our help getting something done. Perfect, a chance to prove how valuable we are! In today’s world of sophisticated cyber fraud this scenario is ending poorly for more and more businesses.

CEO-Fraud-Scams-And-Why-They-Are-Successful

CEO Fraud Scams And Why They Are Successful

Why CEO Fraud Scams Are So Successful

CEO Fraud Scams, also known as CFO Fraud Scams or Business Email Compromise Scams (or BEC), are a type of cyber phishing scam performed by sophisticated cyber criminals that are skilled in social engineering tactics. Just two months ago, November of 2018, it was reported that the European cinema chain Pathé had fallen victim to a BEC scam that cost them over 19 million euros! That’s roughly $21.5 million U.S.! In the case of Pathé, cyber criminals impersonated company headquarter officials and convinced the CEO and CFO of their Dutch branch to transfer the funds over a series of money transfers. You may be asking yourself, how could business or upper management fall for such a scam? Well, the cyber criminals had done their research and had even created emails that almost exactly resembled the official Pathé domain. And, they did they used social engineering and convinced the Dutch branch CEO and CFO that the funds were for a confidential acquisition and that they couldn’t discuss the transfer with anybody in the company.

This is an extreme example of a CEO Fraud or BEC scam, but it shows the extent to which fraudsters and cyber criminals will go and the tactics they use to get at your business. Cyber criminals research, plan, impersonate upper-level management.

Don’t Become A Victim of CEO Fraud Scams

With over $12 billion dollars (FBI global estimate), odds are you and your business will be the target of a BEC scam. Protecting your business is a must! Developing IT security strategies for business is our specialty. Contact Us discuss implementing a plan to protect your business from advanced cyber security threats.

Finding The Best Tech Support For Your Small Business

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Finding The Best Tech Support For Your Small Business

Business of all sizes use devices of all types to run and operate. From accounting and payroll to invoicing and selling products online, in today’s fast paced world if you don’t run your business online you’re behind the times. Unfortunately, with so many things for business owners to focus on, IT and tech support often go overlooked.  

Finding-The-Best-Tech-Support-For-Your-Small-Business

Finding The Best Tech Support For Your Small Business

Why IT & Tech Support Are Important

You’re running your business, you don’t have time to think about tech support. But what happens when computer issues occur and your ability to conduct business comes to a grinding halt? You do an internet search for IT support to get your computer issues resolved and hope your back to focusing on the important aspects of running your business. You want your problems fixed and fixed fast. Hackers and scammers know it too and it’s why every year small businesses fall prey to a wide array of scams.  

Tech Support Scams

There are some of the common ways that scammers try and take advantage of small businesses.

  1. One way that cyber criminals target small businesses is by setting up fake tech support companies. The scammer then takes out an add so when you search for a tech support company, their “tech support” webpage shows up near the top of the results. When you contact them they request access to your computer and a fee for their services. After taking your money, they may fix the problem, but they also access your business info.
  2. Scammers use popups saying that your computer or device has been infected by a virus. Usually they claim to be from a trusted IT security company or computer company. They provide a phone number for you to call in hopes that you fall for the scam and give them access to your computer.
  3. Scammers will also use old fashioned cold-calling claiming to be representatives from a tech support company. They tell you your computer has been affected by malware or a virus and that they can remove it for a small fee. 

Find A Trusted Local Tech Support Company

Many small business believe that they either don’t need tech support or that it will be too expensive. If you have company information stored on a computer or do online transactions, you need to protect your business. The best place to look for tech support is from a trusted local company. Local tech support companies typically offer a variety of options and will know which is best for your business needs. It’s not a question of IF computer issues will occur, but WHEN computer issues occur. Don’t wait, contact Pros 4 Technology today to discuss your business’ cyber security.

How To Create Strong Passwords

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How To Create Strong Passwords

In the world of internet security and prevent cyber crimes one of the most important things to do is to create strong, unique passwords. Just doing an internet search for “preventing identity theft” or “protecting against cyber crimes” will bring up countless sites offering advice. At or near the top of every list of how to protect yourself will be, passwords. In this week’s post we’ve combined our years of experience and the latest expert advice from tech experts on the best practices for personal passwords.

How To-Create-Strong-Passwords

How To Create Strong Passwords

Why a Strong Password is Needed

A strong, unique password is your first line of defense against identity theft and cyber criminals. Hackers and cyber criminals use many techniques to gain access to your online accounts, including programs that will keep guessing passwords from a predetermined list until one is successful. Once they have access to your account they will try and use the same password to gain access to your other accounts.

Unique Password

The vast majority of people come up with one or two passwords that they use for multiple or all of their online accounts. It might be a very difficult password to guess, something like “Jtk34Nm!78.” They think that because the password is so hard to randomly guess that it is a strong password and use it for all their accounts, thinking they can’t be hacked. However, if a hacker does figure out your password they now have access to all your accounts. Creating a unique password for each online account is essential.

Using Passphrases

The old standard advice when creating a password was to use a combination of letters (both upper and lower case), numbers and symbols. We were told to start with a word and then substitute numbers and symbols to create the password. So what started as the word “elephant” would be El3P@n# by the end. Not very easy to remember. Instead of relying on complex, hard to remember passwords, try using passphrases. Passphrases are long, complex passwords without all the numbers and symbols. Instead of writing “elephant” as “El3P@n#” using a passphrase you would use “elephantsgocrazy.” Complex, long, and unique.

Password Manager Programs

Since we all have multiple online accounts, remembering and managing passwords can be a monumental task. Using a password manager removes the hassle. Just remember, make sure the password for the password manager is strong and unique (and write it down in a safe place if you’re afraid of forgetting, don’t store it on a device!).

Multi-Factor Authentication

When possible use multi-factor authentication to secure your devices and accounts. The type of multi-factor authentication depends on the service or device. Some, like emails, will text you during the sign in process with a confirmation number. You can set your smartphone to require your thumbprint before purchases. Check your accounts and wherever possible set up multi-factor authentication for added protection.

Protect Yourself From Computer Viruses

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Protect Yourself From Computer Viruses

Grab Some Tissues, Your Computer Has A Runny Nose!
You’ve got aches, slight fever, cough and a runny nose. Chances are, you’ve got a virus. The next few days you’ll spend drinking a lot of water, sipping chicken soup and vegging out. If only computer viruses were as easy to diagnose and treat!

 Protect-Yourself-From-Computer-Viruses

Protect Yourself From Computer Viruses

What is a computer virus?

A computer virus is a malicious code or program that is written to alter the way your computer operates and performs. It acts much like a virus you or I may contract during the course of the year (especially if you don’t wash your hands after being in public areas…). A computer virus “infects” a computer and then can spread from computer to computer as the malicious code or program is shared or if the computer is part of a larger network, like at work. It can even remain dormant on your computer for a period of time showing no major signs or symptoms. Unfortunately, there isn’t any form of technology that is immune to viruses.

What does a computer virus do?

When we get sick, we know that the virus is trying to make our life miserable and make us watch afternoon TV gameshows. When a virus infects a computer there is a much more sinister reasons…Viruses are designed for various purposes; steal passwords or data, log keystrokes, corrupt files and operating systems, spam email contacts and even to take full control of your computer.

How to protect yourself from computer viruses.

Whether surfing the web, downloading apps and programs or opening links and attachments, it’s critical to use caution and protect yourself and your computer.

  • Use and run an anti-virus program. Most anti-virus and computer protection software will protect your computer and warn you when you visit sites that have been linked to distributing files containing viruses. Most anti-virus software also run daily or scheduled scans of your computer to find and eliminate viruses.
  • Make sure your programs and software are kept up to date. New viruses are being developed daily and software companies are continually creating important updates to their programs to protect them from viruses. Set your updates to happen on a regular basis, you can even have your computer update overnight so it’s ready for use in the morning.

If you think your computer has been compromised by a virus or you own a business with multiple computers on your network, contact Pros 4 Technology to discuss your security needs. Don’t wait till there’s a virus, protect your info now!

Protect Your Company From Phishing Scams

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Protect Your Company From Phishing Scams

Phishing scams affect hundreds of businesses each year; compromising your company’s information and negatively affecting your reputation. Phishing is one of the most used and successful types of attacks on business because they target a company’s employees.

Protect-Your-Company From Phishing Scams

Protect Your Company From Phishing Scams

How phishing works

Typically, the cybercriminal sends an email to an unsuspecting employee that appears to be from a legitimate source: a coworker or IT support personnel, government agency, bank, a social media or networking site, even a friend or family member in an attempt to get them to click on an embedded link or open an attachment. If they click on the link they are often directed to a false website that appears to be legitimate in an attempt to get them to enter information that can be used to gain access to the company’s information.

What are cybercriminals after

When cybercriminals target a business through a phishing attack they rarely have a specific target employee. What they’re after is information that can be used to commit future crimes or that can be sold: client information, credit card numbers, usernames and password, and sensitive company information.

How to protect yourself and business

  1. Watch for impersonal greetings. Emails from “coworkers” that misspell your name or don’t address you by name should be confirmed with a supervisor. Generic greetings like “Hi” or “Dear Customer” are often red flags because a cybercriminal may not know your name or is sending out a bulk email.
  2. The use of threatening or intimidating language in an attempt to get you to perform an action such as following a link or sending personal information.
  3. Don’t open attachments! Phishing emails will contain attachments that contain malicious software. Attachments may be PDFs, zip.files, Microsoft Word or Excel.
  4. Check the link before you click. If in doubt of a link, scroll your mouse over the link to see the destination of the link. If the destination ISN’T from the website or company that sent the email, DO Not click on it!
  5. Make sure your employees know what to do if they receive a suspicious email and what company policy is in regards to private email use.

If you are a business owner or manage IT for your company, contact Pros 4 Technology to learn more and how to protect your business from phishing scams and threats.

Employees, Your Business’ First Line of Cyber Defense

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Employees, Your Business’ First Line of Cyber Defense

Everyday we hear of a new scam, cyber security threat or instance of fraud and cyber crime. With all the cyber threats and scams out there, it’s easy to feel helpless in this world of cyber security issues. Especially since all the IT and cyber security experts agree that there is no fool proof, 100% guaranteed way to protect yourself from cyber threats and criminals. If it’s difficult for individuals to protect themselves, it’s even more difficult for businesses.

Employees-Are-Your-Business’-First-Line-of-Cyber-Defense

Employees, Your Business’ First Line of Cyber Defense

Cyber Threats To Businesses

Businesses have more identity information than an individual. If the business does transactions they have credit and debit card info, account information for businesses they work and do business with, their employees personal and tax information; all the information cyber criminals are after. Cyber security services protect your business with technology, but to protect against cyber crime you need to look at the human element.

Best Internet & Cyber Practices For Employees

Having a clear cut policy on internet activity, including personal email and social media use, is extremely important for businesses. Let’s walk through some ways to establish good practices and policies to ensure your employees know how to protect your business.

  1. Clear Responsibilities & Duties – Some of the most successful scams and crimes that are committed begin with and email or phone call. The scammer impersonates a company higher up, say a CEO or CFO, and asks for information from a department member that has access to sensitive company information. They may contact: HR to request employee files or tax information; Accounting for account information or financial reports; IT for security login information. It’s critical that your employees know company policy for requests for information. Also, make sure you foster a work environment that encourages employees to question and double check such requests.
  2. Clean Desk, Clean Work – We’re taught from the moment we begin school as a child to keep your workspace clean and double check your work. As we get older and enter the workforce it’s amazing how we can forget! IT experts say that human error is one of the top ways that systems are compromised and data loss occurs! Keeping desks and workspaces clear and clean means; important files aren’t left in plain sight where unauthorized personnel can view them, written usernames and passwords don’t get left out, it’s easy to spot if an unauthorized person has been snooping. Double checking work means; correct email recipients, policy adherence and proper handling of data and files.
  3. Working Around Non-Company Personnel – More and more people are working from home on a full or part time basis. Employees and employers alike are seeing positive benefits from allowing employees to work from home or away from the office. Even for trusted employees, the fact remains, important company information is being accessed away from the office. Make sure your employees follow best practices to avoid Shoulder Snoopers (public areas are prone to eavesdroppers) and while using public networks.
  4. Knowing Your IT Department – IT Department employees typically have access to all areas of a business. For larger companies, employees working in different departments often don’t know who is in IT or not. Make sure each department knows their IT Support Professional, scammers will often use the technique of calling or emailing employees claiming to be from IT in an effort to get information from the employee.

Let Pros 4 Technology Help Your Business

You love your business. We know that with all you have going on in a day, thinking about and developing cyber security policies and procedures can be put on the back burner. Contact us today to discuss your cyber security needs and protecting your business from cyber crimes.

7 Ways to Protect Your Company Against BEC Scams

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7 Ways to Protect Your Company Against BEC Scams

You receive an email from a supplier notifying you of an unpaid invoice and asking you to verify your account info so they can withdraw funds. As a responsible business owner, you immediately verify the info so you’re back in good standing with your supplier. You call your supplier rep to let them know you’ve paid the invoice and you hear the words “you don’t have an outstanding invoice.” By the time you call the bank the money is gone and there’s no way of getting it back.

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Protect Your Company Against BEC Scams

The Growing Threat of BEC Scams

This scenario is becoming all too familiar in today’s world of wire-transfers and automatic withdrawals. Business Email Compromise Scams, or BEC Scams, target businesses of all sizes. Scammers target business owners and employees, trying to get them to perform an action that sends money to the scammers account or send sensitive information that can be used for other crimes, like Identity Theft.  BEC Scams have become so problematic that the FBI has started to warn about them. The FBI assess total damage of BEC Scams at over $3 Billion and counting! In June of 2018, over 70 people were arrested in one coordinated, international BEC Scam investigation!

Why are BEC Scams So Effective?

People and businesses fall prey to BEC Scams because they’re sophisticated and start with gathering intelligence. Scammers typically compromise a CEO or upper management personnel’s email account and study the business and company procedures. Scammers figure out the best way to attack a company before striking. They target all aspects of a business, but typically focus on:

  • HR Departments – Scammers can gain access to employees’ personal information and W-2 forms
  • Accounts Payable – Scammers try and access company accounts and scam employees into transferring money
  • Upper Management & Owners – They’re the initial “in” for scammers. They have all the info and clearances with the least amount of checks and balances

Seven Ways to Protect Against BEC Scams

  1. Verify all changes or updates for account info and payment instructions to vendors and suppliers. 
  2. Maintain hard-copy files and contact lists! In today’s digital world it’s easy to overlook the need for paper. But keep a printed record of vendor contact information and discuss with your supplier representative how accounts payable will be handled.
  3. Train your finance and HR team. Write and implement an action plan for the handling of sensitive information and who is authorized to request it.
  4. Limit the number of employees that have access and authority to use sensitive information or transfer money.
  5. Use two-factor authentication methods wherever possible. It may seem like a hassle but spending a little extra time could save you thousands!
  6. For larger companies and wire-transfers, use out-of-band authentication to verify any and all wire-transfer requests.
  7. Foster open communication in the work place. Make sure your employees know that if they receive non-verbal requests to do something out of the ordinary, that they should question it! Double or even triple-check requests to send money or sensitive information, even if comes their direct boss or upper management!

Pros 4 Technology Can Help

Your business faces cyber threats every day! Let Pros 4 Technology assist you and your company. We want to make sure your company and data is safe from BEC scams and other threats. Contact us  today!

How to Create Secure Passwords

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How to Create Secure Passwords

Strong Passwords are Essential to Prevent Identity Theft

We need passwords to protect our personal information online, from email, to Facebook, to our bank and credit accounts and much more. Unfortunately, many people overlook the importance of a strong password, in favor of something easy to remember, using their name, birthday or even the word ‘password.’ All too often, the same weak password is used for every account.

Having your password stolen isn’t just an inconvenience any more. These common password mistakes can cost you your identity.

Stealing Passwords is Automated Now

Hackers can effortlessly perform brute force attacks on your internet connected devices and online accounts to steal passwords. Using automated software, their computer guesses every possible password combination in a matter of seconds or minutes. When your password combination hits, they gain entry.

The initial attack will often attempt passwords generated from names, birthdates and other personal information, which are commonly used because they’re easy to remember. If that’s unsuccessful, many programs can simply attempt every possible key combination. It can take as little as 8 seconds to crack a weak 6-character password.

However, if your password is at least 8 characters with a mix of lower and upper-case letters, it can take up to 10 days to crack. Add numbers and special characters to the mix and your password becomes very difficult to hack. Most hackers will move on to an easier target.

Use secure passwords to help prevent identify theft - Pros 4 Technology Blog

Use and manage secure passwords to protect yourself against hacking and identity theft.

How to Create and Manage Strong Passwords

Password Do’s

  • Use a different password for every online account.
  • Change passwords on a regular basis.
  • Change passwords if you suspect someone has access to your account or you’ve been hacked.
  • Use at least one of each of the following in all passwords:
    • Uppercase Letters
    • Lowercase Letters
    • Numbers
    • Special Characters

Password Don’ts

  • Don’t enter less than 8 characters unless you are limited by the account login.
  • Don’t use any personal information (birthdates are popular targets).
  • Don’t use words found in the dictionary – the more random the character combination, the better.

Use 2-Factor Authentication to Strengthen Login Security

Enable 2-factor authentication wherever it’s available for your sensitive logins. This step requires you to enter a unique code that is texted to your phone when you enter your password, and can prevent most hackers from gaining access, even if they do discover your password.

Use a Password Manager

You no longer need to remember or keep long lists of passwords. Password managers can store all of your passwords, and automatically generate new, much stronger ones than you would create yourselves. You only need to keep track of one strong password, and you can enable two-factor authentication to boost your login security even more. One of our favorite password managers is LastPass.