Account hijacking is on the rise, and will continue to rise in the future. It’s important now more than ever to be sure you are taking steps to protect the accounts you use on the Internet. We see people who are careless and pay for it nearly every month every time we see that a friend of ours has had their Twitter or Facebook account hijacked. Most of the time, it could have been prevented. Are you preventing your accounts from attack? Here are some pointers for protecting them.

Beware of the open Wi-Fi network

When you connect your computer to an open Wi-Fi network like the ones you’d find at a coffee shop, you’re welcoming anybody else who is connected to that same network to have a look at your data. The Firesheep hijack is the most commonly used in this scenario. It enables anybody who knows how to install a Firefox plugin to impersonate a user on Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo!, and Google accounts with the click of a mouse. Although Firesheep is popular and can do some pretty heavy stuff, it’s a microcosm to the other tools that are available to hackers.  Secure accounts like Facebook and Twitter by enabling HTTPS or simply stay out of anything that requires a username and password while you use an open Wi-Fi spot.

Stop using the same password for different sites

Do you use the same password on every Web site you visit? I did, and I paid the price when I got caught up in the Gawker hack. I spent the rest of the night resetting the passwords for every account I owned. I was lucky that none of my other accounts were compromised. Others weren’t so lucky as they woke up the next morning to find their LinkedIn and Facebook accounts hacked and changed.

Now I have a new system where every password is different. This is important because you never know if a system admin who possesses your username and password will turn to the dark side and do something malicious to your other accounts.

Stop saving password

When you save a password in a Web browser, it stores it in a location on your hard drive. If somebody were to gain access to your system, they’d easily be able to gain access to your accounts. Firefox even has a screen in the options menu that reveals every saved username and password. All it takes is a minute for a person to gain access to that information that one time you forget to lock your screen.

Using password services like LastPass have proven to be a bad choice as well with the news that it has been hacked. Stop being lazy and take the extra three seconds to type in the password when you log in.

Take these steps to secure your Internet accounts. Prevent hijacking and hack attempts like a bank would. If you don’t, it’s only a matter of time before you pay for it. Your information is important and it needs to be protected.