Top Signs You’ll Get Hacked (Fast) in 2014

March 21, 2014
Kevin Lam

Target reported in a disclosure last Friday that they picked up signs of suspicious activity, but decided not to take immediate action.  Here are sure fire signs that you’ll probably be hacked in 2014 and what you can do right now.

You’ve Convinced Yourself “Nobody Would Try to Hack Us”

I’ve lost count how many times I’ve heard people say this just to avoid spending on security. I’ll let you in on a secret about the hacking community I’ve learned after professionally hacking for more than a decade: hackers don’t want to go to jail.

Hmmm, let’s see. Attack a business who’s on the ball with respect to security, risk getting caught and going to jail -OR- attack a business who’s convinced themselves they aren’t targets and has done nothing to protect themselves with literally zero chance of getting caught.  The latter, or low-hanging fruit as they are known in the industry, are exactly the type of businesses hackers are trying to hack.

If I were you: Ok so you’ve put off security for a while, no worries. First things I would do if I were you is this:

  • Inventory all the personally identifiable information your business has and figure out what’s encrypted and what’s not. Pay special attention to systems that have a connection to the Internet and mobile devices like phones and laptops.
  • For the encrypted data: Assess if the encryption being used is up to industry standards.
  • For the un-encrypted data:

If you need help, send us an email anytime and we’d be happy to point you in the right direction.

You’re Still Using Email to Send Sensitive Data

Basic data protection will fall into the following categories:

  • Data protection at rest: How your data is protected when it’s stored electronically.
  • Data protection in transit: How your data is protected when it’s transmitted over un-trusted networks, such as the Internet.

When you send sensitive data over email, by default none of the above protection is provided.  And even if your email provider provides a secure connection, there’s no guarantee that your recipients email server is securely set up. When it comes to protecting your customer’s data, that’s a risk not worth taking. And by way, just because you have to access your email account with a password, it doesn’t mean the data you’re sending is secure.

If I were you: Check out our free article on How to Send Encrypted Email, which will show you how to encrypt data you send by email for free, using software you probably have right now.  You can also check out our easy to use email encryption plugin if you’re using Outlook.

You Use the Same Password For All Your Accounts

This one seems like common sense, but a lot of people do this.  If you’re using the same password everywhere, all it takes is for one site to get hacked and then potentially all your accounts could get compromised.

If I were you: From what I’ve seen, most people won’t get this until their accounts get hacked and they feel the pain of watching their online financial accounts get drained and identities stolen. If you’d prefer not to put yourself (and your customers) through this kind of misery, then for any critical accounts, like primary email, financial and business accounts, make sure you’re using a different strong password for each.

Over the next weeks, I am going to walk you through the top things that you can do to prevent yourself from getting hacked in depth.

Happy Friday and see you next week,

Kevin Lam signature

Kevin Lam, Co-Founder and CTO