password

How to make your online accounts more secure

1. Create a strong password

A strong password:

  • Is difficult for anyone to guess or hacker to decode
  • Is at least eight characters long
  • Contains a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols
  • Doesn’t contain your user name, real name, or company name
  • Doesn’t contain a complete word
  • Is significantly different from previous passwords
  • Isn’t the same password you use on other web sites, such as for online banking or other email accounts

2. Keep your security info up to date

When your security information (like an alternate email address or phone number) is current, the service provider can use it to verify your identity if there’s ever a problem.

3. Monitor your account for suspicious activity

You can periodically check for unusual activity, such as a sign-in from a location or device you don’t recognize.

4. Install an antivirus program on your PC

Many hackers steal passwords through malware (malicious software) that’s been installed on your PC without your knowledge (for example, when you download a new application or toolbar). It’s important to clear your PC of viruses or malware before you change your password. That way, the hackers won’t get your new password.

5. Turn on two-step verification

Currently many service providers are offering two-step verification, which helps to protect your account by making it more difficult for a hacker to sign in, even if they’ve somehow learned your password. If you turn on two-step verification, you’ll see an extra page every time you sign in on a device that isn’t trusted. The extra page prompts you to enter a security code to sign in. You can get a new security code on your phone or on your alternate email address, or you can obtain one through an authenticator app on your smartphone.

6. Update your operating system, browser, and other software

Most service and app providers release periodic security updates that can help protect your PC. These regular updates can help prevent viruses and other malware attacks by closing possible security holes.

If you’re using Windows, turn on Windows Update to make sure that you receive these updates automatically.

7. Be careful of suspicious emails and web sites

Don’t open email messages from unfamiliar senders, or email attachments that you don’t recognize. Many viruses are attached to email messages and will spread as soon as you open the attachment. It’s best not to open any attachment unless it’s something you’re expecting.

8. Use a pop-up blocker with your Internet browser

Pop-up windows are small browser windows that appear on top of the website you’re viewing. Although most are created by advertisers, they can also contain malicious or unsafe code. A pop-up blocker can prevent some or all of these windows from appearing.


Source: Microsoft account security, Learn how to make your account more secure

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