We have been doing a lot on cyber security here on TechVise lately, and today we would like to turn our focus once again on your digital well-being. In this modern digital age, one of the biggest concerns of any frequent internet user is having their private information stolen by hackers. It seems like every day there is a new story of major security compromises and stolen financial information. While such security breaches are hardly under your control, hackers almost always use low-level information gathered from normal people to make their way into bigger systems. And this is something that can easily be avoided on an individual basis. Here is our list of the top three ways on how to protect yourself against hackers.
1. SECURE WEB BROWSING
Probably the most effective way to avoid being targeted by hackers is to have a secure web browsing experience. There are a few obvious things you should do to create this experience. The first thing you should do is create complex passwords. A simple 8 character password with one letter and a capital letter doesn’t cut it anymore. Your password should look less like TechVise1 and more like T3[HV!5E01101. Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden suggests using passphrases, which are much longer security measures. You also shouldn’t use the same password more than once, and you should change all of your passwords once a month or so. It seems like a lot, I know, but it is necessary to keep your online accounts safe and secure. You could also use a password manager to keep up with your passwords.
There are also less obvious things to consider. For instance, do you know how to check and see if you’re on a secure connection? In your URL, the beginning of the code should read https://. If it does not read this and instead reads http://, you are on an insecure connection. This simply means all of your information is easily accessible for anyone out there looking to ‘sniff’ out the information. Protect yourself by verifying the URL if you’re on any site where anything more than your email address is being taken. You should also set up a two-step verification for your accounts where possible. By doing so, you are making it that much harder for hackers to access your account, plus you will be notified if anyone tries to.
2. UP TO DATE SOFTWARE
Something that is most often overlooked are software updates. Yes, they can be tedious and they steal 15 minutes or so from your life, but they are critical to avoid being targeted by hackers. These updates contain the latest security features and will help keep hackers out of your information. Users should also have an up to date firewall, as well as antivirus program such as Bitdefender Internet Security or Avast to prevent dangerous viruses from being implemented on their computer. We covered a few antivirus & internet security products just this month.
3. AVOID PUBLIC WIFI OR USE A VPN
If you don’t know this already, public WiFi connections are dangerous. Being on a network that anyone can access opens you up to all kinds of security dangers. On these networks, anyone can connect at the same time as you and then steal any or all information off from your computer or phone. The scariest part is it’s rather simple to do. It doesn’t even take an expert hacker. Instead, use a VPN to ensure all your internet activity is secure; making it all the more difficult being targeted by hackers. Otherwise, treat public WiFi like public restrooms and avoid them at all cost. Those are the best ways to avoid being hacked. A few other things to keep in mind are to always back up your data (either on a separate hard drive or via cloud storage) and monitor the locations of your previous log-ins.
Now with a bit more knowledge under your belt, you are free to view the web safely and securely