Saturday, July 28, 2012

How to Protect Your YouTube Account from Being Hacked

There was an incident that occurred recently where a trigger video maker over on YouTube had their account hacked. And other members may have since been threatened to have their accounts hacked.

TheWaterwhispers even went to all the trouble to make a lengthy video earlier on this month (over 20 minutes long) about the situation and what to do to protect your account from being hacked.

So I finally decided to put up a few pointers even though this post has almost nothing to do with ASMR; things that are most important to take in to account to protect any account online, never mind just YouTube:

  • Always have a firewall and have internet security programs including a trusted and proven anti-virus program or two on your system – only one should have real-time protection enabled. Scan frequently – at the very least once a week.
  • Use a secure browser like Firefox or Chrome.
  • Always keep your operating system and programs on your system up to date.
  • Use program virtualisation tools like Sandboxie, especially with your browser.
  • Don’t click on links if you don’t trust the website being linked to. Try and stick to trusted websites. Avoid questionable or potentially dangerous websites.
  • Don’t download anything or open attachments that are from an unknown source, via email, messages, and the like.

The tips above will help to keep your system free of malware, and will help prevent cyber criminals from gaining access to your account by way of keyloggers or other such malicious software. As for account security, let’s look at the following tips:

  • Keep your passwords stored securely either in a safe if written down or a program on your computer like a password manager. KeePass is one such program.
  • Change your account passwords frequently. Say at least twice a year – preferably 3 or 4 times. Some do it every month!
  • Think about using an anti-keylogger program or a virtual keyboard like Neo’s SafeKeys, particularly if accessing accounts from a friend’s system or an internet cafe.
  • Don’t enter usernames or passwords on apps or third-party websites that are not trusted. Neo’s SafeKeys is trusted.
  • Where available, enable other security features on an account, like security questions, login notifications (applies to Facebook), OTP (one time password) and 2-step verification. Google has a 2-step verification feature – I strongly suggest that you turn this on as far as YouTube is concerned (YouTube is a Google product). Even if a hacker guesses or knows your email address/username and password, they’d still need the numeric password sent to your mobile in order to access your account.
  • Erase cookies, especially when surfing from a public computer, say at an internet cafe. It’s my personal recommendation that you do not access important accounts from internet cafes or other systems that are not your own. Yes, buying a PC or a mobile device may cost you a bit initially, but it’s a worthwhile investment. Also make sure to keep your devices away from others if you do important activities on them.
  • Have a strong password for your administrator and limited accounts.
  • Don’t give out account information to anyone who you have no business with. Don’t fall for phishing scams.

When making a password for an account, also remember the following:

  • The password must be at least 12 characters nowadays, preferably more, in my opinion.
  • It must have lower and upper case letters,
  • numbers,
  • special symbols,
  • punctuation marks,
  • spaces,
  • must not be too short,
  • must not be something easily guessable,
  • must not have characters that are the same consecutively.

There. Hopefully that will help you increase your account security and overall security. TheWaterwhispers specifically wanted to know of ways that a hacker could hack in to a YouTube account – there are so many ways a hacker could gain access to an account. Using malware, including spyware like a keylogger, is one of them. Guessing the password or trying a dictionary attack could also be used. Phishing scams are also to blame for a lot of account compromises – in this case the victim handed over information to person who didn’t have their best interests at heart.

Those are just a few – but the more likely ones in the case of an individual account being hacked. As for entire websites and servers being hacked – there are even more complex methods that I won’t cover here as firstly, I’m not all that knowledgeable on the subject, and secondly, even if I were, it would take too long, and this blog post isn’t really related to ASMR as it is. I’m really just doing it as a service to the community; a public service announcement of sorts.

Stay safe everyone!

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