Easy Ways To Keep Your Phone and Computer Safe From Hackers
Hackers are getting really smart. You’ve probably read of all the recent breaches with Target and even the CIA, but data shows that hackers are actually going after individuals more often because most people have little to no security on their devices. With information like social security numbers, bank accounts, and more, hackers take their findings to the online black market to sell. How do you keep your computer(s) and phone safe? Here are some easy ways:
Keep Your Software Updated
Computers and phones will alert you when there’s a new software update, and you should always install it as soon as possible. These updates patch insecurities, so when you fail to install them, hackers can exploit weaknesses to get at your data and identity.
Get Solid Antivirus/Firewall Software
Antivirus software isolates any virus you might have downloaded and deletes it before it can spread. Firewalls will let you know if something weird is happening with your computer, like if someone has tried to access it remotely. These pieces of software provide important warnings and first responses, so you want to be sure you’re choosing reliable software.
Be a Smart Surfer
Most hackers gain access very simply: they get their victim to open the door for them. Never open email attachments you don’t recognize, click on those “You’re a winner!” banner ads, or send sensitive personal information (like bank account numbers, healthcare website logins, etc) over email or text. Paranoia is a good thing when it comes to using the internet, so always exercise caution.
Beware of Malicious Apps and Software
Recent studies show that hackers are using malicious apps to gain access to victims’ phones. Stay clear of third-party apps, which are apps that aren’t licensed by an official app store. These can contain code that gives hackers a clear window of all your activities. You should also never download pirated software in an attempt to save money.
Be Careful with Public Wi-Fi
That coffee shop can be a favorite place to work but be careful of using their public Wi-Fi. It’s very easy for hackers to spy on other computers when they’re all on the same network, so make sure to always websites that begin with HTTPS. These are encrypted, so even if someone was spying on you, they can only see what website you’re visiting, and not what you’re doing specifically. The best thing to do is get a VPN, which stands for “virtual private network.” This allows you to channel all your online activity through your own individual network, making you invisible to hackers on the coffee shop’s network.
Get an Ad Blocker
You’ve probably noticed how Facebook ads will target items you’ve looked up recently on Amazon. To prevent companies from tracking you, install a privacy tool like Privacy Badger or Ghostery. You’ll feel less violated while you surf the web.
Always Logout of Your Accounts
When it’s your own computer and phone, you probably save a lot of your login information because it’s more convenient. However, if someone gets your device, they have easy access to everything. Always logout of social media accounts, email, and especially websites attached to your financial information.
Create Strong Passwords
Hackers are masters at cracking passwords, so you want yours to be really strong. Work on creating really unique, random passwords that don’t use personal information that’s easily researched, like your last name, pet’s name, and so on. A mixture of numbers, upper and lowercase letters, and symbols is a good password strategy. Have a lot of passwords and trying to remember them? Get a password manager.