DENVER (KDVR) — Have you ever received an email saying one of your accounts has been compromised and you need to update your security information?
You are not alone.
“With hacking becoming increasingly sophisticated, regular users are bearing the brunt of it. Certain social media accounts are especially vulnerable to cyberattacks,” Deyan Georgiev of VPN Central said.
What accounts are being targeted most by hackers?
VPN Central analyzed 10 platforms and their average monthly searches in relation to cybercrime, using terms like account hacked, hacking and hack.
The research showed the following came out on top for hacking-related searches:
- Facebook: 67,940 searches
- Instagram: 36,220 searches
- Spotify: 25,920 searches
- Twitch: 10,800 searches
- Amazon: 6,170 searches
If you have accounts on these platforms, make sure you are changing your password on a regular basis and adding in multi-factor authentication.
How to protect your online passwords
The Federal Trade Commission said there are steps you can take to keep your online passwords secure.
- Use a long and strong password: Use at least 12 characters, avoid common words or phrases
- Don’t reuse passwords you’ve used on other accounts: Use different passwords for different accounts, that way if one of your accounts gets hacked, the hacker can’t use the same information to hack other accounts
- Use multi-factor authentication when it’s an option: Some accounts offer extra security by requiring something in addition to a password to log in to your account. This is called multi-factor authentication. The “something extra” you need to log in to your account fall into two categories:
- Something you have — like a passcode you get via an authentication app or a security key.
- Something you are — like a scan of your fingerprint, your retina, or your face.
- Consider a password manager: The FTC said most people have trouble keeping track of all of their passwords. The longer and more complicated a password is, the stronger it is, but a longer password can also be more difficult to remember. Consider storing your passwords and security questions in a reputable password manager. To find a reputable password manager, search independent review sites, and talk to friends and family for ones that they use. Make sure to use a strong password to secure the information in your password manager.
- Pick security questions only you know the answer to: If a site asks you to answer security questions, avoid providing answers that are available in public records or easily found online, like your zip code, birthplace or your mother’s maiden name. And don’t use questions with a limited number of responses that attackers can easily guess — like the color of your first car. You can even use nonsense answers to make guessing more difficult — but if you do, make sure you can remember what you use.
- Change passwords quickly if there’s a breach: If a company tells you there was a data breach where a hacker could have gotten your password, change the password you use with that company right away, and on any account that uses a similar password.
The FTC said that if someone is using your information to open new accounts or make purchases, report it and get help at IdentityTheft.gov.