Profitt Report: Here's a simple strategy to protect your identity online


    Photo credit: MGN

    You’re not imagining it: data breaches are everywhere and you could consider it the “new normal,” according to a report from the Identity Theft Resource Center.

    Last year hackers stole nearly 447 million consumer records, containing sensitive data. The report concludes is less of an “if” your data is compromised, it’s a “when.”

    If this is our everyday life now, how do we protect ourselves? We asked a local cybersecurity expert about what we can do and he said there’s a simple remedy: make all your passwords unique.

    “They're lazy, they want the easiest method,” said George Corser, Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Information Systems at Saginaw Valley State University, “the easiest way to get into somebody's bank is with their password.”

    That means we need complicated, varying passwords. However, those are a pain to remember, right?

    Here’s Corser’s strategy.

    Start with a nonsense word or a phrase, such as QR47.

    Remember that word or phrase, then just change it up, depending on the account.

    For example, your Netflix account password would be NetflixQR47.

    For your bank, it’s ABCbankQR47.

    For your e-mail account, it’s emailQR47.

    You get the picture. This way, if one of your accounts is hacked, they can’t use that password in your other accounts.

    The Profitt Report wants to hear from you - please send consumer questions and story ideas to ProfittReport@WSMH.com

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