Hackers are a danger to everyone. They can attack businesses, from the smallest mom and pop to the big corporations. They can also attack individuals and gain their personal information. To protect themselves or the organizations they work for, everyone must work to avoid unauthorized access to sensitive data.
Hackers are looking for information that they can use illegally. This can range from banking information to personal data to steal identities. It may also be that they want sensitive photos or information that they can use for blackmail or just to embarrass you. Anything you do online could potentially be a way for hackers to access your information, so you need to be diligent and careful at all times. Here are some simple tips that you can use to make sure that your information is protected.
Verify Unsolicited Emails, Phone Calls, and Other Communications
Scammers will try to get the most benefit out of as little effort as possible. It’s much easier to trick someone into giving information they don’t want to share than to try to steal it. If you have an email address, then you’ve no doubt gotten spam emails. These are the ones that claim that something is wrong, and you need to act fast to fix it. This might mean that you have to log in to a website, for example. When you log in, you will create a password or need to enter your banking information, and then the hackers will have what they need from you.
Phone calls are also a common tactic. They will call and say that your credit card may have been stolen, or that the IRS wants to charge you. They will then instruct you to log in to a site or to provide information over the phone. If you do, then they have gotten you.
If you get a phone call from any institution or individual asking you for this information, then there is a good chance it is fraudulent. Never provide information to someone calling you. Call the institution back using the phone number from their website to verify if the call is legitimate. In almost every case, you will find that it is not.
One of the easiest ways for hackers to get your data is to obtain, figure out, or guess your password. Good password habits are vital for keeping your data safe. For starters, do not go with a simple word for your password. Your favorite television show or your mother’s maiden name are no longer acceptable as passwords. Not only should you have a complicated phrase, but make sure to have upper and lower-case letters, numbers, and special characters.
The only benefit of having a simple password is that it is easy to remember. However, that’s not a good enough reason to have one. With more complicated passwords, you will need to store them so that you aren’t clicking on “Forgot my password” every time you need to log in to something. Online password storage will make sure that your passwords are secure but always accessible for you. You won’t have to worry about hackers or anyone else getting access to them.
Even with all the precautions, there is a chance for someone to get your password. However, implementing two-factor authorization for your online portals will add an extra layer of protection. When you enter your password, a security code will be sent to your phone, usually through a text message. You then have to enter that security code to access the portal.
This means that even if your password is stolen, the hackers will still need your actual phone to get in. While it would still not be a good idea to be lax with your passwords if you have a two-factor authorization, it still adds a backup if something bad happens.
Keep Up With Updates
Many people put off software updates for any number of reasons. In most cases, it’s because they don’t want their devices to restart, or they manage to never have the device plugged in when the software attempts an update. Whatever the reason, it’s never a good idea to put off updates.
Software updates are often the result of hackers finding new weaknesses in the software. The updates provide patches that will close those gaps and keep everything protected again. If you ignore updates, you will leave yourself open to possible hacking. Updates are not just about adding new features or options. The most important component of them is always secure, and you should be as diligent as possible.
Viruses and malware are other methods that hackers can use to access your data. You may download something that has a virus embedded in its code that allows the thieves to have access to your device. It may record keystrokes, or just let them see all of your files, apps, and information.
While you should take great care about what you download and where it comes from, slips can happen. Anti-virus software can detect infected files before you download them so that you don’t fall victim. If you do happen to download something that’s corrupted, anti-virus software will identify and allow you to delete those files before they can cause damage.
The more connected we are as a society, the more opportunities hackers will have to get your data. However, with these simple tips, you will take big steps towards keeping you and your data protected at all times.
Main Photo by Soumil Kumar.