Greensboro, NC -- What do UNCG, Playstation, NASA, the CIA, and now, Zappos have in common? All have fallen victim to hackers.
In the case of Zappos, the hackers possibly gained access to millions of accounts. When internet hackers break through website securities everything from financial records, addresses, phone numbers, passwords, and pin numbers are floating out in cyber space.
There are some practical tips for consumers to protect themselves and gain a peace-of-mind when it comes to our cyber identities.
If you're purchasing something over the internet use prepaid cards, such as Visa gift cards. This way the card number cannot be re-used. Also, you don't have to use your home address for the shipping address. You can have your items sent to the post office or office mailroom at your housing complex. When it comes to online banking and bill paying, look for the little lock symbol on the website. That's your first indication that the site is secure and backed by firewalls.
Passwords can be a consumer's best friend. They really are your first line of defense against any hacker out there. So how do you go about creating the most secure password? Experts tell WFMY News 2 it's a combination of being random and complex but still easy enough to remember.
Here are some guidelines to consider; don't re-use passwords, don't duplicate examples the websites give you, stay away from personal information. Addresses, phone numbers, and the names of children and pets are easy for hackers to track down.
The best thing you can do is use random letters and numbers varying upper and lower case. Even if you do forget your password, the website or account can e-mail you a reminder with your user name and password. That is safer than using the same, easy password over and over.
To keep track of your many passwords, the Geek Squad at Best Buy in Greensboro recommends downloading software that stores and protects your passwords, but beware, you'll need a very good password for that.
For more information about choosing a password, you can read the following article recommended by Google:
Use This Infographic to Pick a Good, Strong Password
WFMY News 2