Why your chances of getting hacked could increase this year

From the Russians allegedly orchestrating an email hack against the Democratic National Committee to Yahoo revealing that a billion user accounts had been compromised, cyberhacks made some of the biggest headlines in 2016.

With the prevalence of smart technology, online platforms and gadgets, your risk for cyberattacks could increase in the New Year. According to Joanna Stern, Wall Street Journal’s personal tech columnist: “If you haven’t been hacked yet, the chances are even greater in 2017.”  

One reason is because there’s simply more data out there, Stern explained.

“More of our very sensitive information are in our emails or in our social media accounts, they’re in our messaging apps. That makes it a bigger target for hackers,” Stern said Monday on “CBS This Morning.” “The second reason is, if you think about it, the big hacks used to happen on operating systems, computer operating systems. Now those operating systems are in our pockets in our phones, they’re on our TVs, they’re in our wi-fi networks, they’re in those talking speakers, they’re in our light bulbs. So more and more things are connected which makes it more of a target.”

In warding off online threats, two-factor authentication can be a “life changer,” Stern said. Many companies including Gmail, Facebook and Twitter use it to secure accounts. Another thing to watch for in 2017 is biometric authentication – “using our heart rate, using our eyes, using our fingerprints,” Stern said -- which iPhone already started by implementing Touch ID.

If you find out your email has been hacked, however, here are some practical tips Stern offered:

  • Change your password
  • Depending on the hack, let your contacts know that you’ve been hacked. That way, if they receive a phishing, they will be more aware.  
  • Keep your eye on other accounts, as the hacker could have gotten access to sensitive information like your Social Security Number or credit card information.
  • Also, “I would not use Yahoo anymore as an email account,” Stern said.