This is a public service post to do with Cybersecurity. Having seen a friend’s email account hacked, which caused untold harm to their business, and the loss of their Facebook account, I’m urging all my readers to do three simple things today to protect yourselves from the threat of hacking.

If you read nothing else below – here is the TL;DR (too long; didn’t read) version.

1. Turn on 2-factor authentication for everything
2. Change your passwords
3. Use a password manager – and do it today.

My friend’s Yahoo email account was hacked because they used a simple password and 2-factor authentication wasn’t turned on.

I watched the attack unfold in real-time as the attacker emailed all of their business contacts asking for money, changing settings in the email program to avoid detection, and resetting their Facebook password once they had control of their email program.

I also saw the personal cost, and the complete chaos it has caused such as hours spent undoing the emails sent from the account and dealing with the fallout.

In this post, I am pleading for all of you to take cybersecurity seriously, and do something about it TODAY after you’ve read this post.

Think of the changing of the seasons and the clocks going back as a time to do a cyber checkup across all your accounts.

I am also sure your IT department demands all sorts of security controls, passwords, and security tokens – so why not apply the same rigor to your own digital assets?

Here are three simple things you can do, and it won’t take more than half an hour to get started with step 1.

1. Turn on 2-factor authentication

Do this for your email: Gmail, Yahoo mail, Outlook, Office 365, or whatever email program you use. They all offer this function.

The option will be under settings > security. It may also be called “two-step” authentication.

This one thing will massively reduce the risk of your account being hacked. 

Even if they do guess your password, then they will need the code that is sent by text to you to confirm it’s really you.

If you can’t find the instructions for your email program or site, head to where they have instructions for hundreds of sites.

2. Consider changing all your passwords to be something much stronger

81% of data breaches are caused by reused or weak passwords, so random, unique passwords are your best defense against online threats. Use this free tool from a trusted provider 1Password to generate a stronger password online.

3. Consider using a password manager.

I use and recommend 1Password and you can get a free 14-day trial from the link above.

Once set up, it works across all your devices, and also has 2-factor built in so it will remember your passwords and generate the 2-factor code seamlessly on all devices.

I’m sure it would be embarrassing having to say “my account got hacked” to all your contacts when you could have taken some simple steps to avoid this happening.