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Web safety tips so that cheaters can prosper

This Digital Life

By Doug Bolton

Published 22/08/2015

Stay safe: the Ashley Madison hack has shown how vital it is to keep your personal details secure
Stay safe: the Ashley Madison hack has shown how vital it is to keep your personal details secure

After the Ashley Madison hack during which details of 32 million people signed up to the infamous website were released, the importance of keeping your data safe has never been more important.

Even for seemingly secure sites like Ashley Madison, hackers can still find a way in -  so taking care of your personal information is something to think about on every site.

Use different passwords: User's passwords were released in the Ashley Madison leak, but they were encrypted. However, despite the bcrypt algorithm being a very secure way to store passwords, it's still possible for hackers to 'crack' the code.

This means people could potentially then go into the accounts if they are still active, and look at private messages between users.

And if the users used the same password across lots of different websites, as many people do, getting their Ashley Madison password could also let them in to their email account, online banking and social media profiles.

Using longer, memorable passwords containing symbols, capital letters and numbers, and using a different one for each site you visit is a good idea.

Using a site like Zoho Vault to securely store complex passwords.

Use dummy emails: A lot of websites require an email address if you want to use their services, and some are less reputable than others. If your curiosity gets the better of you, then it's possible to use websites like Mailinator or Easy Trash to quickly create a trash inbox.

Many of these sites allow you to create an inbox just for a few minutes - allowing you to enter an email in a website, quickly verify yourself, and have the whole account self-destruct so you haven't given your real address away.

This works well to keep away spam, and protects your real details if you're on a less secure website.

Take advantage of private browsing. Internet history stored in your browser can be useful when it comes to auto-filling forms or remembering passwords, but it's also a bit of a security risk.

It's not very practical to browse in private constantly, but in certain situations (such as visiting Ashley Madison) it can give you peace of mind.

Use two-step authentication: Some sites, such as Dropbox, Gmail and Microsoft, can use two-step authentication if you want them to.

Every time you log in, you'll also get a unique code texted to your phone which you also need to enter. Unless a potential hacker has your email address, password and phone, they won't be able to get in without this unique code. This can be a bit inconvenient, but it works well where you need extra security.

Belfast Telegraph

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