Hackers are increasingly targeting social media and email. Avoid being hacked like Tom Hiddlestone, Katy Perry and Kylie Jenner! Take preventive steps to keep yourself, your digital assets and finances safe. The original article by Elizabeth Gail was published at coincentral.com.


Email and Social Media Risks

Email and social media are vital elements of everyday life in today’s modern world for both networking and businesses. And now, the two are among the primary avenues targeted by virtual wallet hackers. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and various other social media platforms are attractive targets for hackers.

Social Media Users

  • United States: 75%
  • Malaysia: 60%
  • Global: 37%

Social media usage continues to rise in Malaysia and globally. Data mining and third-party user behavioral targeting is a reality and growing concern. The possibilities for theft and misuse are immense for cyber-criminals. Google’s Director of Product Management, Mark Risher, who is also responsible for the anti-spam and cyber-security talked about the growing risk of falling victim to cyber-attacks.

More people are getting their virtual cryptocurrency wallets hacked than before. Such incidences are usually traced back to a social media post that victims made about a topic, or on a public message board. Cyber-criminals monitor social media activity to determine a user’s interests. The next step would be to find a target’s primary email address.

Hacking into a victim’s primary email account would enable a hacker to gain insight into an individual’s financial accounts and reset passwords to valuable financial and cryptocurrency wallets. Crypto wallets that make it possible to reset one’s password via an email address are especially vulnerable.

A recent high profile case related to this is the hacking of Ian Balina’s cryptocurrency wallet, which led to the loss of $2 million. At the time, Balina, a well-known blockchain and cryptocurrency investor, was live-streaming on YouTube when a fan alerted him to a suspicious crypto transfer from his account. Balina failed to take notice of this right away and found himself locked out of his Google account moments later. Balina, later on, revealed via Telegram that his wallet had been hacked.


Hacking Protection Measures

Different online services have different levels of protection and security. Popular email service Gmail by Google sends a security-warning to people it deems at risk of powerful and effective attacks to help them consider implementing additional layers of security. The company has been coming up with innovative security protocols and has an Advanced Protection Program in which clients utilize third-party physical security-keys to mitigate such risks internally. The tech giant is also working on a phishing-resistant, hardware USB-based two-factor authentication Titan security key solution that can be integrated with popular browsers, cloud, and other online services.

Online Safety Tips

1. Use Strong Passwords

Use a strong and secure password consisting of

  • Min 8 characters
  • Upper and lower-case letters, numbers and special characters
  • Avoid default passwords
  • Avoid using your own name, spouse’s name
  • Avoid words that can be found in the dictionary

2. Update Passwords Regularly

Change your password every 90 days. Although it is a pain without a password management software, it helps keep your password secure.

3. Avoid Phishing Scams

Avoid clicking on suspicious links via email, social media or anywhere online. Always go to the official site directly to reset your password and login. If it’s too good to be true, it’s likely a scam.

4. Use Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)

2FA is called such as two different methods of verifying a user’s identity is used. This is often a code receive though an app or message.

5. Use Encryption

Make sure that files and information stored are securely encrypted including on your mobile devices.

6. Use a Firewall

Have a secure firewall in place to protect your computer and network. This helps add a level of security to your network and prevent unauthorised access.

7. Update Software Regularly

Keep your software updated to prevent secure issues and breaches that can be used as a backdoor to attack your system.


What other good online security tips would you recommend?