LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Philip Huff, professor and security expert at UA-Little Rock, said more hackers are on the prowl now that the holidays are over. As many people spend money from gifts they received, hackers are trying to access and steal information.
He said there are multiple ways to protect your accounts and your money.
1. Change your login information for the all the apps you use and make them extremely long and different for each app.
- Huff said that people rarely use different passwords or don't use many different passwords and hackers take advantage of that fact. If they can use your information to log into one of your apps, they’ll likely use that information to try to log into others.
- “Make sure your passwords are very long,” said Huff. “They don’t have to be complex but they need to be as long as 25 characters.”
- He said there are password manager apps that can help you create and store passwords.
- “I use Lastpass but there are other app managers that are equally effective,” he said.
2. Require two-step verification (when possible) to log into all your apps.
- This means that in order to log in, you not only have to enter your credentials but usually you also need to respond to a text message or email to provide extra verification.
- “Two step authentication is what will protect your account,” he said. “Even if they enter your credentials, if they can’t get that second step then you've thwarted any ability they have to use your account.”
3. Don't save your credit card information in the apps.
- Huff said that having the credit card info stored in the app may make purchases faster but it can make cards more accessible to hackers.
- “If someone is able to log in with your username and password, they could use that account to perform financial transactions,” he said.
4. Check your bank accounts regularly to see any suspicious activity. If you do get hacked and your financial information is used, you’ll want to act fast.
- “Notify the credit card companies and they can reverse the transactions so most likely you won’t lose any money, but you have to take quick action and don't let that linger,” he said.