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Malware prevention has become one of the main names of the game in cybersecurity. These fowl beasts of software can cost your company millions, and result in the loss of irreplaceable data.
Pretty much everyone has heard of malware before. It’s talked about nearly constantly in cybersecurity and is one of the main forms of risks that poses a threat to your network and computers.
But, what is malware? Where does it come from? What does it do? And why is it so dangerous to your organization?What is Malware?
Malware (aka Malicious Software) is a harmful software that will cost you and your company big time. It may refer to a number of different programs, including viruses, spyware, ransomware, and Trojan Horses.
Also read: Best CRM software for 2023Viruses
Viruses are the most well-known type of malware. These nasty bits of code attach themselves to clean code and, much like a biological virus, wait for the right set of circumstances to occur to take down your system. Spreading from host to host, a virus can infect your entire network in a matter of minutes.
While this may be true, you do have the option of manually uninstalling the infected program and code (hopefully before any lasting damage occurs), or enlisting the help of antivirus software.Ransomware
Ransomware is a wretched bit of malware designed to encrypt your computer files. Cybercriminals will immediately ask for a ransom in exchange for the decryption key.
The price for unlocking your data ranged from a couple of hundred dollars to several thousand. There is always a good chance that, if you pay, you won’t get the decryption key.
There are several ways ransomware can enter your computer. One of the most common ways is through phishing emails.
With any malware, good antivirus software is key to protecting against ransomware. As mentioned before, never open emails unless it’s from a known source.Spyware
Spyware is a malware that is specifically designed to spy on your system and gain information that way. This may include malware such as keyloggers (spyware that logs your keystrokes), malware that logs your internet usage, and steals banking information.
Because of its nature, spyware is often hard to detect. Unlike its counterparts, it’s aim isn’t to tarnish or lock up your data, but to collect it. Unknowingly.
Prevention is key to protecting against this type of malware as well. Don’t open any pop-ups from websites. Always download any software directly from the source- never third-party.
Also read: 7 Best Woocommerce Plugins to boost your Store you must knowTrojans
Trojan Horse Malware is one of the sneakiest of malware that can infect your computer and system. Trojans often disguise themselves as something seemingly innocent.
The game you downloaded from that one website or an MP3 file. The scary thing about Trojans is that they’re usually self-replicating and create many different risks to your system.
They often will open backdoors to allow other malware to creep in, and are used to install spyware on your computer.
As with anything, prevention is key. Make sure that you trust the sites you are downloading from, and be aware of phishing and social engineering attempts.Keys To Malware Prevention
First thing’s first: get reputable and reliable antivirus software. Norton, McAfee, and Kaspersky are a few of the more well-known antivirus programs out there. All of them provide an enterprise solution as well, which cater to small to large companies.
A managed IT service provider can also help you decide what type of security and software is best for your business, and they can also maintain your security for you.
Prevention is the key to protecting your company and network from malware, and prevention starts with education. Be sure to teach your employees about different security risks and how to avoid them.
Make sure they never download anything from websites they don’t know and trust, and educate them on the risks of phishing emails and social engineering threats.Antivirus Software
We’ve talked quite a bit about antivirus software in this article. However, we’ve barely touched on the best ones for the job of protecting your network.
While I’ve mentioned a few of the more well-known programs, what is the best one according to consumer reviews?Norton
Norton primarily focuses on small businesses. For the protection of up to 20 devices, you’re looking at a price of about $250/year, which is incredibly inexpensive in comparison!
In a general sense, Norton Antivirus and their recently acquired software Symantec boast a shocking 4 ½ stars across multiple sites and over 1,000 reviewers. This puts them firmly on the top of the food-chain with antivirus software.McAfee
For computer enthusiasts, you might have run across McAfee in reference to antivirus software that comes preinstalled with a trial on new computers.
McAfee often does this with a number of different computer manufacturers as a marketing tactic, but they are a reputable antivirus company and are worth consideration.
McAfee’s McVision Endpoint Security boasts a number of incredible features for the prediction, prevention, and detection of security threats, including malware. This might make McAfee one of the most robust security solutions available.
They have received several awards for their services, and boast a 93%-97% positive review from over 10,000 reviewers on multiple sites.Kaspersky
Kaspersky is an old name in cybersecurity. Founded in 1997 in Moscow, their solution has evolved nearly as many times as the modern computer.
Their enterprise security solution has received several awards and recognitions and is overall incredibly diverse. From cloud security to traditional networks.
However, as day-to-day consumer antivirus products, their reviews are considerably lower than Norton and McAfee. On average, they receive an 88% positive review from over 50,000 consumers across multiple sites.
Perhaps their wide range in use and higher volume of customers has contributed to this number.
Also read: 10 Types of Developer Jobs: IT JobsManaged IT Service Providers
When it comes to malware prevention, you may wish to hire experts. IT service providers specialize in cybersecurity (and many other things) and can help you navigate that world.
Along with prevention, IT service providers can help to determine the weak points in your security system, and continuously monitor and improve that security in order to help better prevent and understand the threats that might come across your network.
And, there’s something to be said for the human element involved in these services. You rely on experts at your company every day, so why not rely on human experts in cybersecurity as well?
In fact, you can think of a managed IT service provider as a bodyguard for your network. They have the big guns and muscles that are capable of preventing large scale attacks, as well as the knowledge and knowhow to immediately enact disaster recovery services should they become necessary.
Prevention, a robust system, and incident management all in one.
A lot of professionals might think that managed IT service providers are becoming more and more irrelevant as technology improves.
In the case of malware prevention, having an IT service provider will give you one less thing to worry about as you handle the day-to-day of your business.Conclusion
Malware is all too common in today’s world. And as our technology gets smarter, so do cybercriminals, which makes cybersecurity all the more important.
Taking the time to learn about malware, malware prevention, and security threats from it is key to keeping your company data protected.
Data breaches cost companies an average of $4.7 million as of 2023, according to the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Because of this, you really owe it to your business to have a security plan in place.
Be sure to educate your employees on the dangers of phishing attempts and social engineering, and help them understand what is and isn’t safe to download from the internet.
Have a reputable and reliable antivirus software installed throughout your network, and consider reaching out to a managed IT service provider to help you plan your cybersecurity.
You're reading Malware Prevention: How To Protect Your System
Every new device you introduce into your smarthome is just another system which may be assaulted. It is possible to fasten your smarthome with easy steps like locking your router down and taking appropriate care of the gadgets on your smarthome.
Many smarthome devices need access to the web to operate properly. While not all of the devices connect directly to the net (such as z-wave bulbs), the ones who don’t normally link to a hub or other device to add access. In many ways, the one most important point of vulnerability would be the router.
You need to change your default password utilized get into the router. Update the router’s firmware when it is out of date, and then enable encryption. Always use a complex password specific to your own Wi-Fi router. Using a regular (not-Mesh) router, then you can accomplish all this in the router’s interface. All you will need is to locate your router IP address. Mesh routers, on the other hand, do not have an internet interface. You will create the modifications from a program.
If your router maker is not supplying new firmware anymore, you need to think about replacing it. While we generally say the majority of individuals do not require a Mesh router because of their houses, smarthomes do gain from them. You obtain much better protection for many of your Wi-Fi apparatus, and many Mesh routers automatically upgrade the firmware and supply added security services as a subscription.
Related: – How Artificial Intelligence is Changing CybersecurityUse Unique Passwords for Every Device
Many smarthome apparatus need a password once you set up them. Normally, that involves downloading a program and developing a user account. Sometimes, such as Z-wave light bulbs, then you are going to create one account for a Hub to utilize with various devices.
Every device you make an account for need to possess a unique, complex password. Should you migrate passwords across providers and smarthome apparatus, you face the danger of one compromised device resulting in other points of vulnerabilities throughout your property.Turn on Two-Factor Authentication Wherever Available
Two-factor authentication is an additional layer of protection beyond the simple password. Together with two-factor authentication, once you offer your password, then you give additional evidence of identity. Commonly which comes in the shape of a code, possibly randomly created by a mobile app or sent to you via a text or telephone call.
Regrettably, offering two-factor authentication is not very typical in smarthome apparatus, but that is beginning to change. Nest and Wyze both provide two-factor authentication now. Security cameras are the devices most likely to possess two-factor authentication, and you must use it together. As one couple discovered, instead of attempt to break through your router, an attacker might have an easier time using stolen credentials to log in to the account related to your smarthome apparatus. Two-step authentication will help stop this from occurring.
Verify the programs related to your smart devices wherever possible turn it on. We recommend pairing two-factor authentication using an authenticator program, such as Google Authenticator for iOS and Android.
Related: – How We Think About Cybersecurity has FailedUpdate Firmware on All Your Devices Regularly
The same as your own router, you need to upgrade the firmware for all your smarthome apparatus frequently. Firmware is fundamentally the software built into your hardware–it decides the qualities and capabilities of your hardware. Producers frequently locate problems and patch them and frequently add new features on the way.
Ordinarily, you can upgrade most smarthome apparatus through a program. Including Z-wave and ZigBee gadgets that you connect to a wise hub. You will check the Wise hub’s program for those updates.
In case the manufacturer no longer supports a smarthome apparatus you’ve installed, then you need to replace it whenever possible. If you are not certain, check the company’s web site.
ALSO READ: – Based on The Way of Industry is Moving The Future of Security 2023Buy Only From Reputable, Well-Known Companies
If you search Amazon for clever backpacks, you will discover dozens of alternatives from dozens of manufacturers. Some you might have heard of, many will probably be completely unknown. It may be tempting to choose the least expensive option that guarantees the characteristics you desire, but you ought to inquire into the business first.
Most smarthome apparatus you introduce in your house communicate with servers from the cloud. The question would be: “who owns those servers?” If you are taking a look at a newly released product in an unknown maker, there is no way to know for certain at which it communicates until someone tests it. Unless you are a security researcher that loves the battle, you likely should not be the guinea pig.
And other than that, the largest difficulty with smarthomes is your apparatus might quit working. The business may go under, vanish, or opt to proceed to some newer product and finish service.
Sticking with a sizable well-known firm does not guarantee that will not occur, as noticed when Lowe’s murdered off Iris. However, what you do get is a track record to test. By searching over the business history, it is possible to see how workable it is, and whether the provider supports its products for only months or even years.
With a proven background, you may even see exactly what a provider handles failure. Wyze, the manufacturer of a few of the cheapest smarthome products that you are able to request, ran in a problem where camera feed visitors moved via servers in China. The business clarified exactly what happened, why it occurred, and how it was likely to repair it.
You might not like it occurred at all, but you understand so that you can make an educated choice on whether to purchase the item, and that is the purpose. If you discovered a product from a new producer, attempt to seek out testimonials from several websites. If all you’ll find is Amazon testimonials, assess Fakespot to find out whether the testimonials are actual. Look for any background you can before making the buy. If you can not locate established history and actual testimonials, then forget the gadget.
Related: – Cyber Security – It’s Time You Protect Your NetworkDon’t Access Your Smarthome from Public Wi-Fi
Much like you should not check your bank accounts from people Wi-Fi, prevent obtaining your smarthome from Wi-Fi. Even if you’re sure you’re a valid Wi-Fi system, you are possibly exposing the devices on your house to anybody listening in. It is best to not do anything sensitive to people Wi-Fi networks.
If you require remote access to your house, either utilize a device with LTE (such as your telephone ) or think about preparing a private Virtual Private Network (VPN) to join safely.
How To Remove Malware and Viruses On Your Windows PC How does Malware or Virus Get on a System?
Well, there is no known or fixed source of malware or virus. This means that there are several reasons for a malware to enter your system and that too via any medium.
Downloading a program from an unknown or untrustworthy website may lead to downloading a malware.
Downloading a movie or a song over Internet via Torrents or unknown sites often opens a door for malware on your PC.
Getting data from an infected pen drive or external hard drive is another medium through which malware can enter your system.
Surfing on a compromised website is again a root cause for a malware to enter into a system.
So, if your PC is responding slowly or your browser is filled with unknown extensions that you have never installed or there is a change in the homepage of your browser or error in opening files and folders, your Windows PC is infected with a virus or malware.Start Your PC in Safe Mode
When you boot your PC in safe mode only the basic and elementary files and their settings load. You can load your Windows in safe mode with networking or without networking, i.e. with Internet or without Internet. But initially we go with normal safe mode as many a time it is seen that if a PC is connected to Internet then the malware starts updating itself to spread more strongly into the system. Also, a malware can transfer your confidential files and data from your system to its remote servers using the active Internet connection.
Now the steps for booting into the safe mode will depend on the version of Windows installed on your system.
Once you get in the safe mode you will find a drastic change in the performance of the system. This is because only basic Windows files load in safe mode disabling all the process that start with the system and keep on running in the background.
Also Read : 10 Best Anti-Malware Software for WindowsRemove Temporary Files from PC
Temporary files can be a place where a malware can hide. Therefore, if you clean the temporary files in safe mode then there is a possibility that malware will also get removed.
The other benefit of removing temporary files from the system is that we free the space on the hard disk that was earlier unnecessarily occupied by temporary files.
To remove temporary files type %temp% in Windows search and press Enter key. Now press Ctrl + A to select all temporary files and folders. Once selected, press Shift + Delete to permanently delete these files. You can consider using Disk Cleanup, an inbuilt tool of Windows to clean the temporary and other unnecessary files from the system.
Type Disk Cleanup in Windows search bar and press Enter key.Reset Your Browser
If you find your browser flooded with all types of toolbars that you have never installed or you find that the homepage of your browser keeps on changing or that you are unable to set a desired homepage for the browser, then it means that your browser is hijacked by a browser hijacker. Also, it may be possible that a malware has installed a buggy extension or add-on in your browser when you surfed an infected site. Therefore, to resolve all these problems browser reset is one of the best available option. Resetting a browser changes all the browser settings to the default. It will remove all the infected extensions that may have installed in the browser.Reset Chrome Browser:
This will reset your Chrome browser settings to the default by disabling all the browser’s extensions and deleting cookies.Reset Firefox Browser:
Now in the address bar type about: support.
This will reset the browser to its default settings, removing all the add-ons.Reset Edge Browser:
This will clear all the browser data and restore it to default.
Although the browser infection is mostly resolved by resetting the browser to its original state.
However, in case the problem remains unsolved then you have to uninstall and reinstall a fresh copy of the browser from its official website.Scan and Removal of Malware
Since we are in safe mode the malware becomes less effective therefore there is better possibility of malware detection and cleaning in this mode.
Now perform a complete scan of the system using your current antivirus or antimalware tool. The time taken by the scan to complete will totally depend on the size of your hard drive along with your system configuration.
Therefore, please be patient and let the scan finish. Once the scan is finished, clean all the infections detected by your antivirus/antimalware program.
This will probably clean the malware or virus that was residing on your system.
However, if this fails then you have to update your virus definitions using safe mode with networking, as malware prevent the antivirus/antimalware definitions to update in normal mode.
Restart your system in safe mode with networking and try to update the definitions to the latest. Now again perform a complete scan of your system and clean all the detected threats and infections.
This will surely remove the malware/ virus from the system.
If your current antivirus or antimalware program fails to clean the malware then go for another program based on its user reviews and ratings. Though this may cost you an additional amount it can still help you in freeing your system from virus.
Must Read : 5 Best Ransomware Protection Tools For WindowsReset Your PC to Default Settings
Though following all the above steps will make your PC free from virus and malware but in case luck is not your side and infections remain on your PC then you are left with only option, i.e. resetting your PC to factory settings.
However before opting for this ensure to backup all your important data as no one wants to lose data accumulated over the years.
You can manually back up all your important data using external hard drive but we recommend you use an online backup storage program that automates all the backing process.
Tip: We recommend you use an updated antivirus or antimalware program while uploading and downloading your data from cloud.
No one wants to get their PC infected by a malware or a virus, but the viruses that are developed nowadays are so lethal that they even trespass the security shield of your antivirus/antimalware program. Therefore, it is very necessary to learn not only how to prevent your PC from malware and virus but also how to remove them.Quick Reaction:
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If you’re running a company, you know how many threats you need to face daily. One of the things you must pay extra attention to is the cybersecurity issue. With around 30,000 websites hacked daily, the threat is more than serious.
Not all of these hacks are disastrous, but when it comes to companies making huge revenue and employing dozens of people, a breach inside their systems may mean a total collapse and closing of the company’s doors. Hacker protection is essential, and everyone must develop an anti-hacking strategy.
There are many ways for hackers to attack you, but also many ways to protect yourself. Most companies will opt for the pros, like InsightIT support services, which among many other things, will provide an anti-hacking solution.
If you’re planning to do things independently, be sure that it will be more complex than you think. Even if you hire a skilled person, they can’t handle everything alone. That’s why most hire IT companies. Here’s what must be done to perfectly protect yourself from hacking attacks.1. Use Multi-Factor Authentication on All Systems
It’s easy to get to the admin login page for hackers. It’s nearly public, so getting it is easy. What isn’t easy is getting through the security code or the password. Skilled and capable hackers will often know how to break the password, which is why multi-factor authentication is needed.
Multi-factor authentication or two-step verification is a process that allows users perfect control. After the password, the user must approve the login, usually on their smartphone. This way, no one can get in without your knowledge.2. Don’t Open Just Any Link That Comes Through The Mail
As a CEO, you get tons of emails daily. Some of these are not from your employees, partners, or clients. They might look that way, but they are not. This is called phishing and is the largest part of the hacking business.
Best CRM software for 20233. Train Your Employees to Recognize Threats
The same stands for your employees. When your employees open their email addresses at the office, they do it through the shared network. Hackers who use their email to break into their computers are instantly inside the joint network.
Train your employees not to open just anything on their computers. Ask them to look carefully into any email and double-check when they are unsure that an email is coming from someone they know.4. Do Backup Regularly
When hackers intrude, they do it for several reasons. One is for pure fun, and this usually ends without damage. This is rare, though. Most hackers will look for ransom, try to transfer money from your bank accounts, or do it as corporate espionage.
5. Install Essential Cyber-Security Systems
Antivirus and anti-hacker software are not useful in many cases, but your systems will be significantly more harmful without them. Installing these means having a basic level of security, without which no one should do business.
Develop a strong firewall that intercepts and prevents minor issues from destroying your network. A professional antivirus program can also capture viruses coming through the mail, so having this basic protection is crucial in the battle against hackers.6. Limit Access to Most Sensitive Data
One thing that many CEOs and managers do is limit access to the most sensitive data of their company. Suppose you’re working on a new project and you’re afraid of your competition getting their hands on sensitive documents. Limiting access to them means not allowing just everyone to access and see what there is.
These few points show you the six essential moves you must make to provide ultimate security. If you’re running a company, practice all these we mentioned or dedicate the task to a professional IT-managed service company that will know what is crucial before you even tell them.
Our modern browsers are much better than their ancestors at protecting us from vulnerabilities and online dangers, but the big ones aren’t always so great when it comes to caring for your privacy. Firefox is one of the better browsers in this regard, with some decent anti-tracking features, but you may still need to get some add-ons to shore up those privacy defenses.
The following add-ons for the Firefox browser can help with that. Here are some of our favorites that will block all the online nonsense you don’t want any part of.1. ClearURLs
A very simple app that’s recently been growing in popularity, ClearURLs automatically removes tracking elements that are snuck into countless URLs across various websites.
With over 250 rules that block tracking, tracking injection, Google rewriting search results to include tracking elements, and many other functions. It’s a must-have for those who prioritise privacy.2. LocalCDN
While DecentralEyes is a long-standing pillar of Firefox’s privacy community, in recent times there’s been a growing number of people moving over to LocalCDN. It’s a more up-to-date fork of Decentraleyes, which hasn’t seen a lot of updates lately.
So what does LocalCDN do? Simply put, it emulates various content delivery frameworks, intercepting their online traffic and replacing it with local resources stored in the extension. What this means is that sites like Google and Facebook can’t track your browsing habits between sites.
LocalCDN also has support for more assets and CDNs, meaning that its privacy-protecting features reach further than its predecessor.3. HTTPS Only (Replaces HTTPS Everywhere)
In 2023, Firefox 83 added an HTTPS-only mode that fulfills much the same function as the HTTPS Everywhere extension. Namely, this tries to enable the full HTTPS protocol on sites that even have limited HTTPS support. This way, you can be sure that when you’re entering sensitive information into a site, at no point will your information send unencrypted.
If you want to use an add-on instead (each to their own!), you can still install HTTPS Everywhere, which fulfills much the same function as Firefox’s HTTPS-Only Mode.4. Cookie AutoDelete
Cookies may sound sweet, but they’re one of the sneakiest little privacy suckers on the Internet. They’re not usually nefarious, but privacy-conscious people don’t like them. Cookies are little packets of data that a website sends to and from stores on your PC – this date tracks your activity on the website it pertains to.
It can be handy, such as remembering what items you added to your shopping basket, but “tracking cookies” can also build up a profile of your online habits – which you may not want.
Cookie AutoDelete is an extension that addresses this by giving you complete control over your cookies. By default, it will automatically delete all cookies when you close a given site or tab. You can also whitelist the cookies you do want to keep, helping you run a tight ship when it comes to online tracking.5. DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials
DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials is a browser extension created by the same people behind DuckDuckGo. It can:
Automatically block third-party trackers that attach to your browser when you visit a site to track your moves afterward.
Force sites to use HTTPS connections when available.
Show you a Privacy Grade for each site you visit.
While none of those are revolutionary features, it’s a mind-numbingly simple solution for everyone who wants the equivalent of a “Privacy: ON” switch in their browser.6. NoScript
That’s why NoScript is one of the extensions worth adding to your browser since it allows you to enable the support for such scripts on or off selectively.
Do note that its use can be somewhat annoying since it’s overzealous. It also blocks stuff you’d like, rendering some of your favorite sites unrecognizable until you whitelist them. Still, that’s a small price to pay for your privacy, and the problem will almost disappear the more you use it.7. uBlock Origin
Lighter on resources and more efficient than many alternatives, uBlock Origin can help you eliminate all the unwanted fluff from the webpages you visit.8. Privacy Badger
Another great anti-tracking extension, Privacy Badger works differently compared to most of its contemporaries. Instead of relying on predefined lists of “good” and “bad” sites, it’s trying to discover trackers based on their behavior.
Privacy Badger is easy to use. When a site doesn’t display as it should, you start turning on the stuff it blocked, one by one.
When you find what you need for the site to display correctly, you turnbut everything else off again.9. Decentraleyes
We should preface this by saying that development seems to have stopped on this extension, which inspired the developer of LocalCDN to step up and create a more updated version of it. If Decentraleyes development continues to stagnate, we’ll remove it from the list, and at this point recommend using LocalCDN instead.
Theoretically, you can block that type of content, too, but the sites that rely on it would look broken. Since there is no way to solve this problem, DecentralEyes found a way to sidestep it: clone the needed content.
By providing local copies of the content, your browser doesn’t need to seek it elsewhere, so it won’t ping the Googles, Microsofts, and Baidu’s of our world whenever you visit something like a web app that relies on jQuery.Firefox Privacy Settings Home
Choose Home from the menu on the left, then disable anything Pocket-related, as well as Snippets. This way, Firefox won’t try to force-feed you their content.Search
In the Search category of options, disable all Search Suggestions to avoid sending everything you type in the address bar to the browser’s active search engine.Privacy & Security
Move to the Privacy & Security group and set your Tracking Protection to “Strict.” By choosing Custom instead, you have more control of what your browser will block, but we won’t get into more details about it since that’s a whole tutorial on its own.
Set the “Do Not Track” option to Always, and further down at the Address Bar, disable “Search engines” to avoid sending your keystrokes to the active search engine.
If you don’t care about helping Mozilla improve Firefox (by sharing with them how you use it), disable everything under “Firefox Data Collection and Use.”
Ensure everything under Security is enabled, and feel free to check out the rest of the options on this page. Those allow you to check (and clear) stored cookies, grant and revoke permissions to access your location, camera, and microphone, or force the use of HTTPS in all the windows.Sync
It’s a useful feature, and Mozilla hasn’t given us a reason not to trust it. Still, if you’re paranoid about your security, you shouldn’t use Firefox’s built-in Sync feature. Alternatively, you can choose to synchronize your Add-ons and preferences but skip Bookmarks, History, Open Tabs, and Credit Cards.
Are you using other methods to protect your privacy? If you are using Chrome, here a few ways to protect your privacy in Google Chrome, too.
Content Manager at Make Tech Easier. Enjoys Android, Windows, and tinkering with retro console emulation to breaking point.
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While the available evidence suggests that hackers have not gained direct access to more than 600 million iCloud accounts, some of the sample login credentials supplied by the group have been found to be valid. ZDNet, for example, used Apple’s password reset function to test 54 logins supplied by the hackers, and found that all of them worked.
Apple has said that there have been no breaches of its own systems, and that the credentials likely came from ‘previously compromised third-party services.’ Most of the account owners contacted by ZDNet lent weight to this claim …
We also asked if their accounts were used on other services, to potentially verify if another site had been compromised. Most of the people we spoke to confirmed that they used their iCloud email address and password on other sites, such as Facebook and Twitter.
Three of those contacted did claim their credentials had not been used on any other site, but there is of course no way to know whether this was something they didn’t want to admit or had forgotten other uses of the same password.
The incident does, however, underline the five steps all iCloud users should take to protect their accounts.
Change your password
If you have even the slightest suspicion that you may have used the same password on any other website, change it. This is especially likely if you have used the same iCloud login for many years, when the risks of reusing the same credentials on multiple sites were not as widely understood.
Ensure two-factor authentication is active
If you don’t already have two-factor authentication active on your iCloud account, this should be a priority. This means that nobody will be able to access your account from an unknown device even if they have your login.
When you or anyone else tries to access iCloud from a new device for the first time, Apple will send a verification code to one of your existing devices, and you need to enter this code to enable access.
Follow Apple’s instructions for setting this up – and read on before you log out.
If you think you already have 2FA active, double-check it isn’t two-step verification
You may think you already have two-factor authentication enabled when you are in fact using the older, and less secure, two-step verification system.
You can check this by signing in to your Apple ID and checking what it says in the Security section. If it says ‘Two-step verification,’ follow Apple’s instructions to switch this off and turn on two-factor authentication. If it says ‘Two-factor authentication,’ you’re good.
Check your logged-in devices
While you’re logged into the Apple ID site, scroll down to Devices to see which devices are currently signed-in to your account. Make sure you recognize all of these.
Use a password manager
Using a strong, unique password for every website you use just isn’t feasible if you need to remember those passwords yourself. The only realistic way to do this is to use a password manager.
Safari has a built-in password management feature, which is good enough to do the job if you use Safari on all of your devices, but standalone ones do offer additional features. We can recommend 1Password and LastPass. Check out our recent guide on password managers.
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