• Sara Millis

How to really protect your online accounts from being hacked!

Unfortunately, every online account that you own has a chance of being hacked, whether it is your bank account, business cloud software or even your personal social media accounts.


Given the rise in cloud services, it is not surprising that IT Governance recorded 1,243 security incidents in 2021, accounting for 5,126,930,507 breached records - an increase of 11% on 2020’s number.


It is pretty likely that just like every other business owner out there you are asking yourself, “how do I really protect my online accounts from being hacked?” This is why we have put together our handy guide.

Hacker working at his desk

Why do hackers target online account credentials?

It is estimated that the dark web can sell hacked social media account credentials for around £20 to £70. Given that hackers are capable of extracting credentials in large batches through developed software, it is likely that they could sell thousands of data batches every week. Quite simply selling your stolen credentials to other users is often an easy and profitable business for hackers.


How much does the average data breach cost British businesses?

On average British businesses reported a cost of around £2,670 in cyber breaches in 2021, according to Statistica. With cyber-attacks estimated to have increased from 2018, when there were 65,000 attacks against small businesses alone, 4,500 being successful averaging a rate of one attack every 19 seconds (Hiscox press release 2018).


6 ways to protect your online accounts from data breaches

1. Implement multi-factor authentication

Microsoft suggests that using a multi-factor authentication protocol on your accounts is likely to prevent 99.9% of cyber-attacks. They are easy to set up in most cases and produce a secondary login code sent to either your phone or email to thwart any fraudulent login attempt.


2. Use a Password Manager for secure storage

Gone are the days when we could store passwords on shared or desktop files. Now we need to be much more cautious than that. A Password Manager is a third-party encrypted software which allows you to securely store login credentials. They can even generate secure passwords for you too, keeping hackers at bay.


Password management software can be purchased by individuals as well as businesses and allow you to autofill passwords on secure connections quickly and easily, giving you both peace of mind and certainty.


3. Regularly review and adjust your privacy and security settings

How many times have you reviewed your privacy and security settings on your devices? The chances are you may have done this during the first use of a new SaaS software or app, but have never looked at it since. It is time to start a more regular review process. This will help you make sure your software or app is configured to give you the best option in security for your business or personal needs.


4. Create leaked password alerts in your browser

Sometimes, regardless of how safe you feel you have been with your password selection and storage, your credentials can still be compromised if the software you are using has had its master database hacked.


Browsers like Google’s Chrome and Microsoft’s Edge have a password alert system, giving you the heads up when a password may have been compromised and now in need of replacing.


5. Do not enter passwords on public wi-fi connections

Public wi-fi or hotspots can be easily monitored by hackers, so it makes sense to make a rule to never enter personal information, credit card details, or login credentials during public web browsing. Instead, use a virtual private network (VPN) to encrypt your connection, or turn your device's wi-fi setting off to use your carrier's wireless connection.


6. Increase your device security

If a hacker tries to gain your passwords, the chances are they are using malware, a software that is specifically designed to disrupt, damage, or gain unauthorised access to your system. Once they have your password they can potentially breach your account and any other device app, or software you log into during the lifespan of the hack.


To decrease your exposure we recommend your use of:

  • Antivirus/anti-malware

  • Up-to-date software and OS

  • Phishing protection

Bonus tip - Provide staff training

It is crucial for your staff to understand basic operating security whilst working in your business systems. A relatively small investment per staff member at the beginning of their contract can have a knock-on effect on the potential clean up costs incurred for data beaches.


Need help protecting your online business accounts from being hacked?

Don’t leave your online accounts at risk anymore! Contact us today to review your current cloud account security and provide helpful recommendations.

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