Hackers are the bane of our existence. What started as the occasional data breach has turned into thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of scams, ransomware and heinous attacks. Nobody is safe.
While anyone could be a victim to hackers, that doesn’t mean you can’t protect yourself. There is an entirely separate market out there for programs and devices designed to keep you from getting hacked. Sometimes the answers are simpler than investing in fancy products. Here are five essential steps to take to protect yourself from hackers online.
Information is power, as they say. So the best thing you can do is arm yourself with knowledge. Here are 20 security secrets that hackers don’t want to know about.
1. Oversharing on social media
We post everything on social media. Bad idea! Avoid oversharing the following information, and whatever you do, stay away from using basic information to create passwords.
The best way to protect yourself here is to create a strong password. Do so by using a combination of letters, capital letters, numbers, and symbols. Avoid using common names and phrases in your passwords or any personal information. Tap or click here for five new rules to creating the best passwords.
2. Photos with inside looks of your home
This is simple enough. Think before you post. Pictures of your home office sometimes catch images of your computer screen. This can easily give hackers what they need. To really ensure hackers can’t take advantage of your photos, double-check your privacy settings.
3. Eerily similar emails
Some of the most successful scams come through emails. Some tend to think emails are harmless, but they have the potential to become a huge hassle. Look for any subtle signs that emails are spoofed. Often the email addresses and links are very close, but a single digit is off.
It’s never a good idea to reply to unsolicited emails with banking or personal information. If you need to conduct business with a company that you normally deal with, contact them directly. Also, don’t click links or open attachments found in unsolicited emails. They could be malicious and infect your device with malware.
4. Your boss needs your personal information immediately
Just like emails that are made to look super similar to, say, your bank, in hopes of tricking you, the same goes for your company. They may even know specifics about your boss and your job role.
If you receive a message that’s supposedly from your boss or company’s HR department asking for personal information or even company funds, don’t fall for it. It could be a BEC or spear-phishing attack. Tap or click here to see how BEC scams work.
5. They prey on your emotions
The IRS scam call is a great example of this. If you don’t pay them now, they will issue a warrant for your arrest immediately. Everybody is scared of the IRS.
Sometimes the scammer will claim a loved one is in jail and demand you cover the bond money they have to pay. It’s another play on your emotions as you must act now. This manipulation works well on loved ones. These types of scams often target the elderly. Don’t let them pressure or scare you.
6. Your router doesn’t have security
Weak passwords on your accounts are bad ideas, but they are just as dangerous on your router. You should follow the same password rules for your banking information and other secure sites on your router.
Protect yourself from hackers with a sophisticated password and don’t share it with anyone.
Don’t know how to create a QR code for your Wi-Fi network? No worries, we can help. Tap or click here to find out how to share Wi-Fi without giving out your password.
7. Your smart appliances aren’t secure either
Everything in our homes nowadays can be a smart device. Thanks to Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant, we can control devices with our voice, making us want to get more smart devices. From your coffee makers to your Wi-Fi-connected light sources, one compromising device can give a hacker access to your entire network.
How do you fix this? Enable two-factor authentication (2FA) for smart devices whenever possible to limit security breaches. This is especially important when purchasing security cameras for your home. You don’t want hackers to have access to those! Tap or click here for more info on 2FA.
8. Not updating passwords on your outdated accounts
Our first email accounts had passwords like myredcat. That was thought to be fine at the beginning of the internet, but it doesn’t cut it anymore. If you haven’t updated those old passwords, hackers can easily gain access to those accounts.
Your old accounts likely contain personal information that hackers can use to get access to more current accounts. Always keep your passwords strong and update and delete old accounts you never use. Myspace anyone?
9. They pretend to be buyers
Craiglist and programs like OfferUp and Facebook Marketplace are popular because they are so convenient.