When you get divorced, there are things you think about and there are things you don’t.
You think about the kids and how they’ll deal with the divorce. You think about money and how to make ends meet. You think about how to pick a good divorce attorney.
What you don’t normally think about is how to secure your electronics.
And why on earth would you? I mean, come on, there’s no way your ex would invade your privacy and hack your computer/phone/email, right? Right?
Unfortunately, people hacking their exes and spying on them through their electronics is more common (and much easier) than you think. I’ve seen things that will make your skin crawl.
In light of this, here are five top ways to secure your computer/electronics:
- Get LastPass and change all your passwords.
LastPass is a password management system. (It has a free-use function, so it won’t cost you anything.) It remembers all your passwords; and, if you let it, it will generate long and very robust random passwords that are essentially impossible to crack. This feature is huge, because, honestly, if you don’t change your passwords, you are asking your ex to hack and read your email or text messages. Those could include communications with your kids, or even with your attorney.
- Get a new phone and don’t give your ex the number.
There is readily-available technology that allows people to trace cell phones and even listen in on conversations. Drop your current service provider and get another phone with a new phone number. Sure, it will be a pain, but the peace of mind is well worth it. If you need to communicate with your ex, keep the old phone, or cut the service and use the phone on Wi-Fi to text.
- Encrypt your computer’s hard drive.
The data on your computer’s hard drive is not normally encrypted. This means all someone has to do is take out your hard drive (pretty simple), plug it in to another computer, and viola, they can access your data. If you encrypt your hard drive, however, and someone steals your computer, they won’t be able to access your data unless that person can crack the encryption code (unlikely).
- Encrypt your text messages.
Texts are notoriously easy to hack. The best way to fight this is to use an app that encrypts your texts so no one can hack them in transit. Apps like WhatsApp and Signal allow you to encrypt texts (and voice calls), so you can speak with peace of mind. Again, simple solution to a big potential problem.
- Engage two-factor authentication on your email and sensitive websites.
Two-factor authentication (2FA) is a way to add a second layers of security to webpages and services like email and internet banking. Essentially, if anyone tries to access one of your sites from a non-recognized device, you would be notified and provided with a piece of information that you would have to then input to access the site. (For a better explanation of 2FA, click here.) 2FA has kept would-be hackers out of my Gmail account more than once.