Hacking can result from either flaws in human behavior or flaws in software. While you may not be able to do much about coding vulnerabilities, there’s a lot that you can do to change your behavior and reduce your chances of getting hacked. It can be very time-consuming and even frustrating to determine if your accounts were hacked and to try to regain control of them. You’re a lot better off if you just protect your accounts from the get-go.
Here’s what you can do:
1. Keep Your Software Updated
Believe it or not, every piece of technology you use can be open to attack from hackers. But thankfully, almost all weaknesses present in your software can be fixed and most likely will be with a software update. Software updates not only improve your device’s features and speed but also strengthen your system by fixing security flaws in older software versions. That’s why it is so crucial that you always update to the latest versions of your software apps. Granted, these updates take some time, but they’re very much worth your while. Update everything. Start with your phone and then move to the next device in order of potential impact. Once you’re done with the updates, you also need to ensure that you enable auto-updates on all devices.
2. Use Multifactor Authentication
Multifactor authentication may probably be the most effective thing you can do to protect your devices and all your online accounts. What it does is that when you sign into your device using your password, a code is generated and then sent to your phone via text or to your alternate email address. This code verifies that it’s actually you trying to sign in. That makes it almost impossible for hackers because even if they’re able to guess your password, there’s no way they could access your account unless they have your phone. Take a few seconds and turn on multifactor authentication on all of your accounts, especially those with personal information.
3. Encrypt Everything
Encryption is yet another means by which you can protect your computer. It ensures that no one will be able to keep anything you send under surveillance or access any of it if your device gets stolen or lost. WhatsApp and Signal, by default, encrypt all messages, videos, and voice calls. They’re the two main end-to-end encrypted messaging services, both of which give you the option of disappearing messages. Chats are automatically deleted after a set period of time. Disappearing messages mean that no one will have access to your chats, not even if they have access to your device. Encrypting your computer’s hard drive can protect your files from becoming compromised in the event of it being hacked or lost, but this level of encryption requires a bit more effort, so in that case, the use of strong passwords or PINs is highly recommended.
4. Visit Only Protected Websites
Whatever websites you browse, you need to ensure that they are protected. Their URL address bar needs to show a lock and an HTTPS, meaning that all information and links on the website you’re on are presumably secure. And we say presumably because there’s no telling if the computers on the other end could have been hacked. HTTP without the S though is most definitely not safe. If it’s simply to check the news, then it would be fine to surf without the S, but if you’re checking your social media accounts, shopping, doing some banking, or checking your emails, then you most definitely need the S. Dealing with sensitive information without the S is a surefire way of getting hacked, because someone will be watching and collecting your data.
5. Learn How to Recognize Scams
Scammers like it when people give them their sensitive information and do everything it takes to gain access to it. They usually pretend that they’re from reputable companies to throw you off. Some of them call, while others send text messages. This is called phishing, and knowing how to recognize it can help you protect yourself against it. A useful rule of thumb is that you should never open suspicious emails, answer dubious calls, or provide any sensitive information to anyone without first verifying who they are. Nuwber can be your best friend when it comes to that—it provides a person’s full name as well as various other details like address, relatives, occupation, etc.
6. Use Multiple Strong Passwords
You probably think that just having a strong password is enough to protect your computer, but believe it or not, if you use that same password on a number of your other accounts, you can be at risk for attack. Unfortunately, hackers, if they get access to any of your accounts, can access them all if you use the same password. You might think it’s a lot easier to just use one password for everything rather than having to remember a number of different ones, but that poses a serious risk to your security online. Never use personal details in your passwords, and always be sure to make your password longer than six characters and incorporate symbols, numbers, and uppercase as well as lowercase letters.
7. Clear Cookies from Your System
Whenever you browse websites, there’s a message that you’ll receive that lets you know that the website you’re on is using cookies. These cookies record everything you do, from start to finish. Some of them even continue to record after you’ve stopped browsing. Therefore, it’s imperative that you clear those cookies from your computer once you’re done. It only takes a few minutes and can do wonders for safeguarding your system.
8. Use Antivirus Scans
Antivirus software is designed to detect and remove viruses and malware from your device. It is highly recommended that you install antivirus software on each device and set it to automatically scan regularly. Be sure to select a highly rated one, because it will provide a higher level of security for your devices. The modern ones don’t even require that you set them to update; They automatically update themselves to provide protection against the latest viruses and other types of malware.
Hacking attacks are common these days. The main question is: Why do people hack? Well, the answer is simple. If you have something to offer (like money or valuable information), you will always be at risk. That is why protecting your devices and accounts is super important. Follow the above tips and stay alert. One can never be too careful these days.
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