In the digital world we live in, with advanced technology at the fingertips of anyone with enough time to figure it out, being hacked is not only likely, but in some cases inevitable. Bearing this in mind, we’ve compiled a list of preventative tips for you to implement to avoid falling victim to a hacking scandal.
1. Avoid Logging onto Public Wi-Fi
This is a trap many people fall into. When using a public Wi-Fi network, it is generally unencrypted, which means a passcode is not needed and information is accessible. This allows anyone using the same network to ‘snoop’ on the webpages you’re viewing, anything you’re typing and any sensitive details you’re entering e.g. bank details. So, if you MUST use one, make sure you’re not giving out information you wouldn’t want anyone else knowing.
2. Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
A VPN is a network technology that creates a secure connection over the Internet. This a great way of ensuring that your network is encrypted and away from prying eyes.
3. Password Safety
This may seem like it goes without saying, and although we’ve moved past the days of predictable passwords, it still catches some people out. Coming up with something that’s not only unique but also memorable is challenging but beneficial when warning off hackers. Also, make sure to never re-use the same password as this allows the hacker to access multiple accounts.
4. Act Fast
If you suspect something has taken place make sure you act on it quickly and change all your information. Even if it was nothing to worry about – it is better to be safe than sorry.
5. Check App Settings
Before you rush to download that new app everyone is talking about, check the small print. All apps will explain their accessibility features and some may bank on people bypassing it – don’t be one of those people. Check exactly what information it will be able to obtain.
6. Update Software Regularly
Keeping your computer software up to date is more important than most people are aware when it comes to hacking. When using large operating systems like Windows and various other applications, they often fall foul to cybercriminals constantly trying to test their system. Every major software update is likely to include security upgrades. Failing to apply the latest version can leave you vulnerable.
7. Use Antivirus Software
As we’ve already established, the internet is potentially a very dangerous place. Many people have access to software that can infiltrate our computers and rinse it of all information. An anti-virus system will go a long way to prevent this happening as it will flag up any suspicious activity.
8. Turn Off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi
Not only does this save battery – bonus! It also plays a part in safeguarding your information when accessing it through smartphone devices. By leaving your Bluetooth and Wi-Fi on you’re leaving your phone wide open and running the risk of automatically connecting to an unsecured public network.
9. Use Correct Privacy Settings
Make sure you have control over what people can see. A lot of information can be figured out simply by scanning your social media pages, so take extra care when deciding who can view it.
10. Use Encrypting Message Apps
Using encryption to guard your messages can be a saving grace in many situations. If you’re worried information you’ve sent could get into the wrong hands, then make sure to use end to end encryption.
11. Avoid Suspicious Email Attachments
For hackers this can be the holy grail. Using email to catch people out is a very common method. If you receive something that appears illegitimate, then deleting it is the safest action to take.
12. Don’t Click Links
If you see an interesting link in an email, avoid clicking it as it may not be taking you where you think. The best way to tackle this is to copy and paste the link into the search bar, this way you’re sure to be lead in the right direction.
13. Install HTTP Everywhere
This is a Firefox, Chrome, and Opera extension that encrypts your searches with many major websites and makes your browsing more secure.
14. Cover your Webcam
This might sound a little Mi5 (not 9 to 5) but on a serious note, webcam crime is on the rise. Many people are now able to hack into our computer webcams and watch us without us even knowing - so take precautions.
15. Install a Firewall
A firewall will monitor both your incoming and outgoing data and keep your information as safe as it can be. It works as an effective barrier filtering for certain criteria and keeping the risk of cyber intrusion at bay.
16. Don’t Panic
An important thing to point out is that most of us will only need to be aware of basic security information, as hackers will mainly carry out serious intrusions on the people that are in their best interests - so no need to panic!
Hopefully this list has provided you with the tools to prevent future hackers from finding their way into your information so easily. So the next time a hacking scandal is revealed, you can relax knowing you took all of the necessary steps.