Scam of the day – October 17, 2012 – Security question protection

When Sarah Palin got her email account hacked it was a relatively simple matter for the hacker to first find her email address and then change her password to give him control over the account without her ever doing anything.  Often I tell you about the dangers of downloading keystroke logging malware that can read everything in your computer and make it easy for scammers and identity thieves to hack into any account that you have and gain access to your assets.  Often people are lured into clicking on links in emails through the use of phishing or other techniques that lure the victim into downloading the malware by posing as a company with which you do business, a friend sending a video, a federal agency or anyone or anything else you trust.  However, in Sarah Palin’s case as with many people, it is easy to get an email address.  The trick is changing the password in order to get access.  Sarah Palin’s security question was where did she meet her husband.  Using Wikipedia it was a simple matter to learn that it was at Wasilla High School.  Armed with this information, the hacker was able to pose as her, answer her security question, change her password and access her account.  You may think that your personal information is not as readily available as Sarah Palin’s however through social media and the information that can be located on the Internet, you would be surprised as to how much personal information is readily available online.

TIPS

A strong password and a strong security question are important in maintaining your privacy and security.  An easy way to have a security question that will befuddle any potential hacker is to simply use an answer that has no relation to the question.  For instance, if the security question is what is your mother’s maiden name, use “seven” as the answer.  In this way, an identity thief or hacker will not be able to discern what the answer to your security question is no matter how much they research you.  Following this advice can help protect your personal security tremendously.