Everyone is besieged by a nonstop cyber-crime wave that victimizes millions of people and businesses each year. And trouble usually starts with a click.
In just the next 24 hours:
- Scammers will target the public with 94 billion emails
- Hackers will seize and hold 88,000 computers for ransom
- Identity thieves will impersonate 35,000 people
How we handle our online security is critical to protecting our personal and professional lives. But guidance for staying safe has been fragmented and confusing—until now.
Hack-Proof Your Life Now! demystifies the topic and introduces you to the New Cybersecurity Rules—clear, sensible, and do-able actions that will quickly improve your security.
Can anyone really be safe and secure online? Yes, there is a way to quickly shut down hackers, thieves, and identity scammers and enjoy good online security, say authors Sean M. Bailey and Devin Kropp. They contend that anyone can dramatically boost their online security by taking a handful of inexpensive and easy-to-accomplish actions.
Their book begins by asking the reader to measure his or her online security with a 10-question cybersecurity quiz. Nearly everyone scores poorly. But that changes quickly as the authors introduce the New Cybersecurity Rules, a set of 15 principles organized around three mindsets that must be cultivated in order to achieve higher security:
Secrecy. Email addresses, passwords, credit files, Social Security numbers, and other personal information need greater levels of protection. Governments and private companies have done a miserable job guarding personal data. Only individual actions can limit exposure to hackers’ data breaches. The authors offer eight secrecy-boosting rules, including this one: Stop using a personal email address for online banking and credit accounts. It’s too easily stolen. Instead, create a financial-only email account to use exclusively for finances. That limits exposure to just a few secure places on the Internet where the financial-only email resides, making it harder for hackers to scoop up and exploit.
Omniscience. Just like the financial services industry, consumers must use technology to become “financially all-knowing” and monitor—in real time— personal banking and credit matters. By placing one's self at the center of online security (a key theme of the book), everyone can rest assured that identity thieves aren’t quietly stealing their money or ruining their credit. One recommended omniscience rule: Set up notifications on banking and credit cards to instantly become aware whenever cash leaves any accounts or when credit is charged. It's a way to instantly spot fraud or identity theft, a solid protection to have at no extra cost.
Mindfulness. Enacting the New Cybersecurity Rules instills a stronger security mindset, the authors tell us. But how can it be maintained? Safety degrades without permanent changes to computer behaviors and security awareness. But the hackers never sleep. Even the best protected inbox will still receive a few dangerous emails. What to do? The authors suggest their 10-Second EMAIL Rule, an easy to remember mnemonic for staying mindful of avoiding malicious links. EMAIL stands for “Examine Message and Inspect Links” and shows how to spot and unmask dangerous blackmail spam and identity theft malware. It’s a Zen-like practice that can benefit everyone every time they check their email.
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About the Author
Bailey is the founding editor in chief of Horsesmouth (www.horsesmouth.com), a Manhattan-based company that creates educational programs on retirement planning, Social Security, Medicare, college planning, and cybersecurity for industry professionals from top firms including Ameriprise, LPL, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Northwestern, Raymond James, and UBS.
He was an early promoter of the Internet in the 1990s and led a national conference series teaching nonprofits about technology, building websites, and raising money online.
Bailey pioneered computer-assisted reporting in the late 1980s, along with his colleagues at the News & Observer of Raleigh, using public-record data to probe government programs. He was honored by the North Carolina Press Association for his investigative reporting, covering local politics and white-collar crime.
Bailey's interest in fraud started as a college journalist at Appalachian State University when his reporting about a vote-buying scheme in Western North Carolina upset local authorities and triggered a grand jury investigation. Bailey was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Belize. He lives with his wife and daughter in Maplewood, New Jersey.
Devin Kropp is the co-creator of the Savvy Cybersecurity training program, an interactive workshop to teach people to boost their online security. She is the co-author, along with Sean M. Bailey, of Hack-Proof Your Life Now! The New Cybersecurity Rules: Protect your email, computers, and bank accounts from hacks, malware, and identity theft.
Kropp is an associate editor at Horsesmouth and the lead researcher for the monthly Savvy Cybersecurity newsletter. She first experienced the shock associated with identity theft as an 11-year-old in 2002. Just before Christmas, hackers stole her father's debit card information and sold it to a thief in Spain, who drained several thousand dollars from the account. Kropp is a graduate of Binghamton University, State University of New York, where she studied English and journalism, and played wing and scrum-half for the Women's Rugby Club. She lives in Manhattan.
Table of ContentsContents
Click - 1
How to Use This Book to Boost Your Cybersecurity - 3
Discover Your Cybersecurity Score - 5
Part I: Secrecy
Increase Your Stealth, Boost Your Security - 11
1. Your Email Address Is the Key to Your Digital Life: It Shouldn't Be Everywhere! - 14
2. Love Your Passwords, Lose Weight, and Beat the Password Paradox - 20
3. The Two-Step Process That Stops Hackers - 26
4. Too Many Passwords and the Unbreakable Solution - 30
5. The Danger of Free Public Wi-Fi: It's a Honeypot for Hackers - 35
6. "Good Fences Make Good Neighbors" Applies to Your Home Wi-Fi Network - 40
7. Protect Your Phone and Tablet: Track Them like a Bounty Hunter - 45
8. How to Stop Identity Theft on Facebook and Other Social Media - 50
Part II: Omniscience
Your Brain against the Hackers - 57
9. Track Your Money in Motion, Just like the Banks Do - 62
10. A Simple Way to Stop Identity Theft and Protect Your Good Name - 67
11. One Thing Parents Must Do to Protect Their Children from Identity Theft - 72
12. How to Spot ATM Skimmers and Foil Identity Thieves - 77
Part III: Mindfulness
Stay Hack-Proofed When Your Brain Says Click! - 83
13. The One Software Program You Must Know Well - 88
14. What Security Experts ALWAYS Do and Why You Should Do the Same - 94
15. How to Guarantee You Never Pay Extortion to Cyber Thieves - 102
16. Hackers Never Sleep: Spot the Phisher's Mind Tricks (Ten-Second EMAIL Rule, Part One) - 107
17. The Phisher's Seduction: He Hooks with the Link (Ten-Second EMAIL Rule, Part Two) - 114
18. LifeLock and the Question: Whom Should You Trust to Protect Your Identity? (Psst, Look in the Mirror.) - 120
19. Get It Done-Boost Your Cybersecurity Today - 126
Hack-Proof Action Guide
Welcome to Our Hack-Proof Action Guide - 135
Action Step #1: Create a Secret Email Address - 136
Action Step #2: Beat the Password Paradox - 137
Action Step #3: Choose Two-Step Verification - 138
Action Step #4: Get a Password Manager - 141
Action Step #5: Use Free Public Wi-Fi Cautiously - 143
Action Step #6: Secure Your Home Wi-Fi Network - 144
Action Step #7: Add Passcodes to Your Devices - 150
Action Step #8: Tighten Your Privacy Settings on Social Media - 153
Action Step #9: Put Alerts on Your Bank and Credit Cards - 156
Action Step #10: Freeze Your Credit Files - 157
Action Step #11: Protect Your Child's Identity - 160
Action Step #12: Watch for Skimming Devices - 166
Action Step #13: Install Antivirus Software Now - 167
Action Step #14: Always Update Your Software and Uninstall Unsafe Programs - 171
Action Step #15: Back Up Your Files - 178
Action Step #16: Examine Message for Signs of Fraud - 181
Action Step #17: Inspect Links to Confirm Fraud - 183
Action Step #18: Take Control of Your Cybersecurity Now - 184
Endnotes - 187
Glossary - 201
Acknowledgments - 205
About the Authors - 08
Index - 211