You lock your house. You keep your wallet out of plain view. You're responsible with credit cards. You should treat your computer with the same caution, but even the most accountable people can make mistakes that make them susceptible to cybercriminals. We talked to top cybersecurity experts to learn the small ways your computer is an invitation for hackers, and easy ways you can protect yourself.More
It's obvious, but 'fess up: Are you guilty? You absolutely must have varying passwords for all your accounts. Otherwise, if a hacker figures out one of your passwords, they know them all. To keep it easy, rely on software — like KeePass, LastPass, or 1Password — to store them and just unlock accounts with one master password.
No, your cat's name is not a fool-proof pick (and neither is "password123," your name and birthday, or anything else that's super easy to guess). Here's how to make and remember a strong password: Pick four common words in the dictionary and make up a story about them. So, if your words are "correct," "horse," "battery," "staple," your story could be, A horse looks at a battery with a staple in it and says, "Correct." Your characters can be nonsensical, but the story should make sense to you in your head. There's your password, and because of the story, you'll have no trouble remembering it, says Justin Cappos, professor of security, operating systems and networks at NYU Tandon School of Engineering.