Cybercrime cost the US almost 7 billion dollars in 2021 alone. And accordion to Norton, someone is hacked every 39 seconds on average. However, you don’t need to be a part of these sobering statistics. – Protect Your Devices
Here’s how to protect your devices from people who would love to steal your data, destroy it, or hold you for ransom.
Don’t Leave Your Devices Unattended
People often look to technology, such as fingerprint readers or tracking devices, to protect their private information. In a world of technological solutions, it’s easy to forget simple advice, such as not leaving your laptop lying around in random places.
If you leave your device unattended, it is vulnerable to hackers and scammers. It doesn’t take long for a criminal to discover a password or personally identifiable information, which they can use to commit fraud, including identity theft.
Keep your device secure, therefore, by keeping it with you. If you do leave your device unattended, adjust the settings to require a password to re-access it. Even if your password is not strong enough to keep out a determined hacker, it may be enough to slow down and dissuade an opportunist.
Use Strong Passwords and Change Them Regularly- Protect Your Devices
Don’t just use any password. Yes, there are many password – username – memorable information combinations to remember, but it’s not worth sacrificing security for a password that’s easy to remember.
Computer passwords are often “admin” by default, so if this is your password, this section is for you. Likewise, if your password includes the word “password” and not much else. The sequence “123456” is the most common password of 2022, according to security firm SplashData. It’s fast to type, but it’s also pretty fast to hack. A hacker might even be disappointed to get into a device that easily.
A strong password might include several of the following factors:
- At least one capital letter
- A number
- A symbol
- At least 8 characters
Also, consider using:
- a memorable sentence or phrase – a long password will tend to be harder to hack than a short one.
- the first letter of each word of a memorable sentence or phrase – “mhall,ifwwas.”, for example, is the password derived from “Mary had a little lamb, its fleece was white as snow.”
- a password manager – this app can create, remember, and enter passwords for you when you use password-protected sites online. It will require one master password to do this for you. Make it a good one. The password manager will take care of the others, even changing them routinely for you.
The verdict is unclear regarding whether you should change your passwords regularly or not. Some experts say that changing your passwords often will limit how long someone can maintain unauthorized access to your device. Other experts say that a strong, unique password does not require changing unless you suspect it has been compromised. Whatever you decide to do with your passwords, make sure they are strong.
Use a Firewall- Protect Your Devices
Firewall software monitors all data coming into your network and going out. If a hacker is attempting to steal files from you, a firewall may spot them trying to enter your system and while attempting to leave with data. It can then alert you to the problem, keep a log, and provide one or more solutions.
Use a Virus Checker
Many hackers and scammers use viruses to gain access to your device and confidential information. They can then use this information to commit fraud, such as by stealing bank account details to make unauthorized transactions. Some hackers also hold their victims for ransom, stealing or preventing access to critical data and demanding money for its safe return.
A virus checker can help keep you safe from such a fate. Use a well-known, reputable virus checker. And keep it up to date. An out-of-date library can limit a virus checker. Hackers are continually creating new viruses and looking for vulnerabilities to exploit, so keep your virus software up to date to stay ahead of them.
Update Your Software
In addition to updating your virus checker regularly (or setting it to auto-update), it’s wise to keep all of your software as up-to-date as possible. Software updates not only provide a better experience for the user, but they also fix bugs and vulnerabilities that could be attractive to and exploited by hackers.
Guard Your Personally Identifiable Information
According to security firm ValiMail, nine out of ten cyber attacks begin with an email. And one or two out of every hundred emails is a phishing attempt – someone posing as a reputable, possibly well-known organization to get you to reply with personally identifiable information that they can use to commit fraud. Some phishing proponents can make the email look like it came from your employer, a government email address, or another trusted addresser.
Since around 300 billion emails are sent daily, there are 3 – 6 billion phishing attempts per day. Educating yourself and those around you regarding what a phishing attempt looks like is critical.
The email will generally attempt to get you to act quickly. A deadline is a great motivator and tends to preclude critical thought. It may seem like it’s from someone or an organization you know and trust, but that’s one of the things that hackers do – it’s possible for a hacker to hijack another user’s email, for example, to send messages that appear to be from a trusted person.
Find Out Who You’re Really Talking To
The internet has made it possible to connect easily and quickly with people worldwide. It’s also made it relatively easy to do so almost anonymously. It’s not difficult for someone to pose as someone else, or to hide their identity for any reason.
If you are in doubt about who you are communicating with online, you can use Nuwber to verify their details. This site can confirm a person’s date of birth, where they live, their profession, and more. Allow this technology to give you peace of mind or confirm your suspicions so that you can then act appropriately.
Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
Good news: a VPN is not just for hackers. Security-conscious people can also benefit from a VPN to protect their anonymity online. A VPN masks your location, device name, and more, which is excellent for making it harder for hackers to take an interest in your device.
Protect yourself from hackers and scammers, today and every day. Be cautious on and offline. Verify whether you are talking to a genuine person or business representative before sending personally identifiable information. And keep your devices fighting fit with virus checkers, VPNs, firewalls, and some of the strongest passwords nobody will ever know.