Simple Online Security

If you think someone has gained access to your computer, phone, online accounts, or other personal information, you should try your best to lock down everything else you can.

If you received a data-breach notification email: 

Included in any data-breach notification will be a list of what kinds of data the thieves accessed, but it’s often difficult to understand exactly what you should do in response. It’s usually best to at least change your password (and if you used that password anywhere else, you should change it there too); afterwards, consider setting up two-factor authentication if the service offers it. If the breach compromised more personal details, such as credit card numbers, addresses, or Social Security numbers, be sure to take steps to minimize identity theft.

Check your account activity where possible: 

Many online accounts, especially for services like email or social networks, allow you to see a history of logins, or they offer the ability to revoke access to any device that isn’t the one you’re currently logged in from. Motherboard has a guide to accessing these features on some of the most popular services. Also consider turning on login alerts—on sites that support it, such as Facebook—to get a notification anytime someone logs in to your account.

Regain control of your accounts: 

If someone has stolen your account, you need to reach out to the company to regain access. Most large companies offer tools to help you regain control of an account if you’ve lost access, but be prepared for this process to potentially take a long time:

If you think you have malware or spyware on your computer: 

If your computer is showing signs of some sort of “virus,” your next steps depend on how technical you want to get. (Windows instructionsMac instructions), which deletes everything, so do this only if you have good backups of your data. Or contact your IT Team right away.  

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If you think someone has compromised your phone:

Both Android phones and iPhones exhibit a few tell-tale signs of compromise. Typically, you’ll see increased data usage, decreased battery life, and other strange behaviour. In most cases, the simplest way to remove this type of software is to do a factory reset (Android instructionsiPhone instructions). You can also double-check to confirm whether this step is necessary with an app like iVerify on iOS, which includes a tool that scans your device to see if it is jailbroken, an indicator that spyware is installed.

Prevention is better than being hacked.

Follow these simple safety tips:

  • Use strong, unique passwords and enable two-factor authentication: 

Protecting your accounts is a crucial step to dealing with harassment, as the last thing you want is for anyone other than yourself to get into them. Strong passwords and two-factor authentication provide a solid layer of protection, and we strongly suggest using a physical security key as your multi-factor authentication choice if you’re at a high risk of harassment.

  • Remove yourself from “people search” sites:

 If you’ve ever searched for your own name online, you know that some of the results reveal a lot of information about you, including phone numbers, family members’ names, email addresses, and more. You can remove yourself from these services, though doing so takes a lot of work.

  • Be mindful of what you share on social media: 

Social media posts can include all sorts of private information about where you live, your current location while you’re traveling, people you’ve lived within the past, and much more. Be cautious about inadvertently revealing these types of details and consider going through older posts to remove anything that might reveal more than you’re comfortable with. Social media also tends to unintentionally leak all sorts of information, so take some time to lock down your accounts, including details about who can see your posts or any personal information.

  • Consider using several email addresses or phone numbers when possible:  

You can set up different email addresses for different purposes, such as when you’re speaking at public events; also, get at least one secondary phone number to give out when you’re uncomfortable providing your primary one.

Article courtesy of Wirecutter

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