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How not to get hacked in 2019

A guide to all the latest cyber criminal tricks, and how to beat them

Account hijacking

Even if you do use a different complex password for every account you use, this isn't always enough to protect you. Our email accounts are effectively the central hub around which our entire online life revolves. We use them to sign up for almost every digital service we use, which can be a big problem if the wrong person winds up gaining access to them.

The reason this is such an issue is that the method for resetting the password to an online account typically involves the service provider sending an email to your inbox with a link to reset your password. If a hacker has access to your inbox, in many cases they can use that to gain access to many of your other accounts and lock you out.

Many of the more diligent services will use additional methods to verify that the request is legitimately coming from the account holder, such as getting you to answer security questions - although this might not necessarily prove to be a barrier to attackers, which we'll talk more about later on.

The fix: Multi-factor authentication

There's an easy way to make it much harder for attackers to use a compromised email account to hack the rest of your digital services, and that's to use multi-factor authentication. Also known as two-factor authentication (or 2FA), this security measure adds an extra layer of defence to your accounts by combining your password with another way of verifying your identity.

For example, as well as entering your password, you might have to enter a code that was texted to your mobile, or plug in a hardware-based token like a USB key. This ensures that, even if hackers do have your passwords, they can't use them to access any of your accounts without also having the second form of authentication - i.e. your phone or your USB key.

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