As we progress through the 21st century it’s becoming more apparent that we must also protect our retirement from online hackers. A recent government study says there are more than 60 million cyber attacks on U.S. bank accounts on a daily basis. In order to ensure you are not a victim of this type of scam there are some simple steps you can take that will virtually eliminate the possibility that you become a victim.
First, understand how this happens. Hackers use computer programs to sift through different possible combinations of usernames and passwords with the ultimate goal of logging onto your online bank and brokerage accounts. Once they are in, they can transfer money to an account they control in some other country.
If they know simple information about you, there is a good chance they can start with a basic guess of a username and use the software to attempt different passwords which are the most commonly used. If your name is John Smith, they may start with the username Jsmith. This is a common username that people use for their accounts (First initial with the full last name). From there, the computer software will attempt millions of different possible passwords. This is all done automatically by the computer program.
To combat this potential, and most frequently used hack, develop a unique username that no one can ‘guess’. If your current username is Jsmith, change it to something like velvetshoe or blackbanana. Something no one would correlate to you personally.
Then, change your password to something that uses a combination of lowercase and uppercase letters and numbers. This strategy exponentially increases the possible combinations of passwords which the hacking software must try. If you use this strategy with at least 8 characters, it will take most hacking software hundreds of thousands of years to hack into your account.
To make the password easy to remember, come up with a basic word that has at least 8 letters like: Elementary. Change the “E’s” to the number 3. Change the “L” to the number 1. Then capitalize the last three letters. It would look like this: 313m3ntARY. It would take a computer program millions of years to guess your new username with that password. Your online accounts are now protected from the 60 million cyber attacks that banks receive daily.
One final note. It only takes about a week for your fingers to get used to typing this type of password. You will be able to do it just as fast as your current password and be millions of times more secure. One trick is to capitalize the letters that you would usually type with one hand. For example, I can use my right hand to hold the shift key on my keyboard while typing the letters “ARY” with my left hand. This makes it that much faster!
Follow these tips to protect your online accounts from unauthorized transfers, withdrawals and fraud!