Nowadays, cyber criminals have become very clever in designing complex viruses, worms and other forms of malware. Most users are not even aware they have been hacked or their privacy has been breached until damage is done.
Much more people have been reporting about being victimized from hackers who either invade your privacy by stealing your identity, credit card information or money from your account.
In order to avoid such scenario where you may be subject to financial ruin or having all of your private data sprawled into the web for everyone’s access just by clicking on a link.
Some tips by Peter DeCaprio that will help you protect yourself from cyber-attacks and ensure the safety of your personal information online:
Make sure you use a unique strong hard to guess password for all your accounts. Never use the same password for more than one account or service because if someone hacks into 1 of them, they will be able to get access to everything else.
Make sure you update your system and applications whenever there is an update available from the developer’s website. Servers hosting websites are also under constant attack so developers release updates in order to patch exploitable holes hackers use for breaking into sites. Some automated scripts can even scan servers looking for vulnerabilities in a number of web applications so being proactive about updating yourself is always a good idea.
Avoid installing software from any source except official websites of well known software companies such as Adobe, Apple and Microsoft because it is usually safer. You can also opt to use open source software in order to reduce the risk of installing malicious code on your computer.
Always backup all your important data regularly in case you lose or damage your device so you won’t lose any valuable information.
5) Website Security:
Look for websites that have SSL certificates installed when submitting private data such as login details, credit card numbers, etc. That way even if there are hackers sniffing traffic on public Wi-Fi networks they will not be able to pick up that sensitive information because it’s encrypted with a secure protocol called SSL (Secure Socket Layer). Also look for “https” instead of just “http” at the beginning of web addresses and avoid websites that have these free services offered for using their hosted websites to store files: Dropbox, Google Drive, SkyDrive and other similar sites because they could contain malware. Look for “https” at the beginning of web addresses when submitting private data such as login details, credit card numbers, etc.
When you’re not using your computer or device switch it off or at least put it into hibernation mode instead of leaving it on stand-by because most malware enters computers through security loopholes in applications left open while devices are still on even with no one logged in.
7) Web Browsing:
Be cautious with links you click online because if a website has been hacked the operator can place whatever code he wants there so instead of going directly to a website, do a search and find it yourself. This way you will be minimizing the risk of infecting your device with malware.
8) Search Engines:
Don’t use Google or other popular search engines to look for information online because they usually place their own links on top to make money from advertising which can lead you to sites that might contain malicious content such as viruses or trojans. Look for an alternative such as https://duckduckgo.com/ that doesn’t plant paid links leading to suspicious sites so your searches won’t put you at any risk.
9) USB Storage:
As per Peter DeCaprio When plugging USB storage devices such as thumb drives or external hard disks don’t let autorun start by default because if you do, it will execute any code placed there by the attacker so go to “My Computer” properties and turn it off.
Treat your smart phone as an additional computer with access to all your personal files. Lock it down by setting a password that cannot be easily guessed or bruteforced. Don’t use jailbreak tools that are available on the web. Use strong passwords for all accounts associated with your phone such as Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, etc.
Since there are so many ways for a hacker to obtain your private information online you must always stay alert and be suspicious of any unsolicited emails, phone calls or text messages asking you to disclose login details, credit card numbers or bank account information. Also if you have been hacked don’t panic because that will make the situation worse. Immediately change your passwords on all accounts associated with email addresses attackers might have accessed and inform your service providers about what happened instead of panicking because that’s not going to solve anything. Don’t go out and acquire more complex security measures such as antivirus software since it probably won’t protect against more sophisticated attack methods by skilled hackers but simply secure yourself from common attacks hackers use every day.
Hello, My name is Shari & I am a writer for the ‘Outlook AppIns’ blog. I’m a CSIT graduate & I’ve been working in the IT industry for 3 years.