If you need to write your passwords, don't write them in plain text. Use symbols to represent some characters. You only need a hint for yourself.
The habit of logging-off from your computer session even during a quick break saves away from troubles.
Set passwords or encrypt your disk and removable drives to protect your data in case of security breach or physical loss.
Always close and log-out from your accounts when doing online transactions especially using android phones.
Monday, July 9, 2012
More recently however, I see more and more email of this kind coming into my account. As a matter of fact, important or prominent offices and organizations are favorite target or not spared by this situation (see reference story). So instead of individually sending them same quick tips I gave to the other people victimized before, I thought of writing it in a blog and just send them the link where they can read more detailed explanations or guides.
So, IF YOUR EMAIL SEEMS COMPROMISED, here are important things that you should start doing:
1.) CHANGE YOUR PASSWORD
and make it difficult for others (but easy for you).
- Try using non-dictionary words such as from local language (or dialect)
- ideal password length is fourteen characters
- Ensure password complexity by spelling it with letters, numbers and special characters.
2.) ENSURE YOU SUPPLIED ALTERNATIVE EMAIL
- If your email was intended to be taken away from you (like hijacking a car or plane), you have greater chances of recovering your email if you have provided an alternative email address. Try to recover your compromised email through your alternative mail, or answering the security questions you provided to the mail site (hoping they have that feature). You should also consider revising or changing the security questions and answers you supplied to the email provider.
3.) UPDATE (ACQUIRE) YOUR ANTIVIRUS
- You will never know the extent of attack or infection caused to your computer until you use technology in dealing with technology. The battle of virus and anti-virus is an on-going cycle. Someone creates a disease, others create the cure. And what you must have done before, is to have your computer "vaccinated" by the latest anti-virus updates (technically known as virus definition or virus database) and prevent being "infected".
Comodo Antivirus. It is a free anti-virus software and has been proven effective, in fact, it is available at the Navy website for its personnel to download. And I can attest to its effectiveness. Because this is the only anti-virus that I am using for about two years already. I used to have another (paid) antivirus running along with Comodo (it works to some by installing Comodo last) but I have to give it up because of renewal payment issues.
4.) UNPLUG THE INTERNET
- Since we already started using some medical terminologies, let me use it's analogy further. To unplug or disconnect from the internet is to "isolate" or "quarantine" your computer. Your PC's immune system is already weak because of maybe at least one infection, don't let more illness come in.
- Second, prevent infecting the other computers in your network.
- And the third reason is, your email account might be sending emails behind your back... No, no, no, behind the back of your computer. This is the reason why you have to sign-out as stated in step no. 2. Your computer might have already transformed into a zombie-PC (or somebody else is using it remotely), that is why it is sending email to your contacts unknowingly. And because you are a very adorable and lovable person, the recipients of your email was very glad to get a message from you and excitedly opened the package also containing the same disease. Then viola! His PC becomes infected too. And there will be two of you (at least that you may know) sending malicious emails.
5.) SCAN YOUR COMPUTER
6.) SETUP PERSONAL FIREWALL
Zone Alarm before and I find it very effective. There is also a Comodo Firewall available, however, it is recommended only to more techno-savvy people because of it's very stringent security settings. There are also combined Anti-Virus and Firewall products available.
7.) UPDATE YOUR OPERATING SYSTEM
- You may have a security guard and a police dog, but you've let the burglars easily break through your house by not fixing your windows. Some viruses exploit the vulnerabilities of operating systems (Microsoft Windows especially) and reside like parasites. You might end up again reformatting your computer and installing a fresh copy of the operating system. Some files may be lost, it's waste of time (even money), and of course - its annoying.
8.) DON'T SEND EMAILS THRU PUBLIC COMPUTERS / NETWORKS
- Have your own computer for connecting to the internet or at least create individual user accounts in the same common computers.
I hope the steps above will be helpful and not so tedious for you. If you have objections, reactions, additional suggestions, I am very much interested in considering them. Just say it in the comments box below.
You may consider checking back in the future when I finish doing the following topics:
- WHY BOTHER ABOUT COMPROMISED EMAIL?
- HOW DID MY EMAIL GOT COMPROMISED?