Sheesh. Just when I thought there was one crime I was too poor to be in danger of, now there’s ransomware. This malware locks up your files or images and won’t unlock them until you pay money.
The good news is, there’s a way around it.
Backup, backup, backup. We know we “should” back up our work and our files and images, but it’s just so easy to put it off to another day. Ransomware provides an additional incentive to make copies of anything important. When you have everything backed up, you don’t need to pay the ransom. You can just restore the system to a point before the ransomware got into your computer or device.
I have my pictures on a thumb drive and my Kindle books in the cloud. When I’m writing, I email the file to myself at the end of every workday, so my work is always out there for me to retrieve if I need to. Thus, I’m not vulnerable to ransomware.
Then if you haven’t been hacked you are massively lucky and should buy a lotto ticket today. Hackers use password cracking software that tries various passwords until it succeeds. Naturally, they try the most common ones first.
Most common passwords
I understand the problem. Naturally, you want something you can easily remember. A far safer method is to use the first letters of a memorable phrase. Instead of ‘football’, how about I Watch 2 Football Games A Day On Sunday – iw2fgados. Using the numeral 2 complies with some sites’ insistence on using at least one number. If a site require a special character, you could start or end with ! If you need four numbers, only, use the phone keypad to determine the number that corresponds to the first four words of your memorable phrase.
Another example: I Love 2 Take Long Walks 4 Health = Il2tlw4h
Each person will have their own ideas about a memorable phrase.
I also use a different phrase for financial sites, like online banking, than I do for ordinary sites, and yet a different one for social media. Facebook is a target of hackers, your password there should never be the same as your password for financial sites.
Marie Brack is the author of Frugal Living for the 21st Century: Adventures in Using Your Money Wisely. It’s available on Amazon.com in both Kindle and paperback versions.
This review is from: Frugal Living for the 21st Century: Adventures in Using Your Money Wisely (Kindle Edition)
This book is jam-packed with tips, ideas, and strategies for saving money. It’s the Tightwad Gazette of the 21st century… internet addresses for DIY help, encouragement for readers, personal anecdotes, this book has it all. To top it off, it’s delivered in a light, easy to read style that isn’t preachy or judgmental. A very helpful, and enjoyable, read!”
The Tightwad Gazette has been the “bible” of thrifty living. My hope was to make it the ‘old testament’ and mine the ‘new testament’, and it seems I have succeeded.
As if tax season wasn’t bad enough in itself, there are scammers all set to make it into a real tragedy.
Scammers prey on us by knowing what we worry about. How to pay overdue taxes, how to get a better refund faster, the threat of an audit, these are our areas of vulnerability at tax time. Protect yourself by going directly to www.irs.gov for information. Take any snail mail notices to your tax preparer or call the IRS about it. (Use a phone with unlimited minutes and get comfortable, they’re understaffed this year.) Use good old American common sense and skepticism to analyze any email or social media you receive that claim to help you with the IRS or claim to be from the IRS.
The IRS warns us that the IRS will never ask for personal information via social media or email. If you receive an email supposedly from the IRS don’t open any attachments and forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The IRS will never ask you for the password or PIN to your bank accounts, stock accounts or credit card accounts.