Yahoo recently stated that 450,000 passwords and user names have been compromised from the Yahoo Voices services. Yahoo is not alone. Google, Facebook, Visa, Mastercard, Chase Bank, and even the United States Supreme Court website have all been hacked.
If you have an email account, use Facebook, Twitter, download iTunes, or do anything on a computer that is connected to the Internet, you too could be hacked.
Here are things you should do if someone has stolen account information, or you receive a warning notice an account has been hacked. Even if you have not been hacked, many of these steps can help protect you in the future.
Change all your passwords.
If you use the same password for everything you need to change them all right away. The first thing hackers will do with an email and password combination is try to use it on financial websites such as online banking, PayPal, and online shopping sites. They will try to get a bank account number and address connected with it, with this information they can take money out of your accounts. Even after you change your passwords, remain alert -- the hackers may have taken the account numbers so keep a really close eye on your accounts for any unwanted activity.
If you did not have your information stolen you should still keep the following tips in mind to protect yourself in the future.
Use different passwords for everything.
Most people use the same password for everything. Something as simple as a website you signed up for years ago may get hacked and the hackers will try to use the combinations for more important sites like online banking. If you use different passwords for everything, even if a hacker gets one password from a hacked site he will not have access to other data on other sites.
Get anti-virus and anti-spyware software.
Ask anyone that has experienced a virus attack in the past and they will tell you that they are horrible, and sometimes embarrasing things to deal with. Now not only are their viruses to worry about but, there is also spyware. Viruses make working on the infected computer near impossible, while spyware is designed to be hidden and often more difficult to detect. Spyware logs everything you type and the collected data is sent to someone else.
My personal favorite anti-virus software is called Microsoft Security Essentials. It is available for free and it doesn't take up a lot of system power so is perfect for those who use an older computer. For spyware the program Spybot works great, and like Microsoft Security Essentials, it is completely free.
Add a password to your wireless router.
If you use wireless Internet at your home you will need a password --if you don't, anyone can use free programs to see what you are doing and even "grab" your passwords, emails, and usernames. Every router has a different way to set up the passwords butmost come with disks to make it really simple. if yours did not you can go to your router's manufactures website and see how it is done.
Only use links on official sites.
An online scam that happens a lot is called "phishing" what the hacker will do is send you an official looking email from a bank stating something along the lines of "You need your password changed" or "Your account has been compromised" then with the email will be a link to fix the problem. The link will take you to a website that looks like the real bank website, but it is actually the hacker's site trying to steal your login information. If you do get an email like this the best thing you can do is to go to the site directly and login and see if there is a problem.