HOW TO PREVENT HACKING
Your desktop computer, laptop, and tablet — even your smartphone — are fascinating targets to seasoned and beginner hackers alike. But what makes one individual or company be a more attractive target than another? Are there any common threads that dictate how hackers pick their victims?
Suspect someone is tracking your digital path?
To help tailor your defenses, check out this cheat sheet that gives a few effective ways to prevent hacking and which are a cinch to do.
Three Ways to Prevent Hacking
1. Avoid Phishing Links and attachments: To steal your passwords, account numbers, banking information, and Social Security number, scammers will use advanced phishing tactics via email or text messages to trick you into giving them your personal information. And while this outreach may seem verifiable, be mindful of any messages you receive that:
- Ask you to confirm your identity
- Claim there’s a problem with your account
- Offer a coupon for something free
- Request that you click a link to make a payment
Hackers can also use means to infect your device with malware. But even worse, once you click on and open any suspect-looking links, it’s nearly difficult to correct the damage. To that end, use common sense, and if something doesn’t feel right, trust your intuition and don’t click on links in emails or text messages that look bogus.
It’s also advantageous to install a web application firewall (WAF) to monitor your online activity. If something looks improper, a WAF solution will notify you of any malicious links or attachments. With website firewalls, you can block any suspicious links in real-time before they jeopardize or infect your operating system.
2. Enable Two-Factor Authentication: Using complex passwords to log in to various website portals will safeguard your information and protect your identity. Still, with cybersecurity threats increasing year after year, there is no guarantee that at some point in time, hackers won’t be able to access your personal information.
Fortunately, it is easy for individuals and businesses to add an extra level of protection when logging into secure web portals in the form of two-factor authentication. Rather than simply entering a password and immediately gaining access, with 2FA, users must also provide another piece of information to confirm their identity, including:
- PIN or an answer to a “secret question”
- A text message or email verification
- Iris scan or fingerprint
Thus, even if hackers find and input your password, the chances of the hackers having your second-factor information are highly unlikely. Put another way, if consumers set up 2FA correctly, websites can be more confident of a user’s identity and allow access to the account.
3 Update Your Software to the Latest Versions: No matter what you’re doing online, it is easy to ignore those slightly annoying software update messages and click “cancel” instead of “install” thinking you’ll get to it later. This is especially true since these updates can take many minutes of your time.
But in addition to boosting performance, these software updates also mend security holes and protect your data. Indeed, outdated software is vulnerable to hackers and cybercriminals, who can easily overtime work to exploit holes in these programs and compromise your operating system.
Thus, to protect your desktop computer, laptop, or tablet, make sure to schedule automatic downloads to ensure it’s operating with the latest and greatest software. If you operate a website, upgrade your web application firewall solutions. Your host company should be able to render all the security suites you need to prevent hacking.
While keeping your devices secure takes time and energy, doing so is eventually worth it in the short and long term to safeguard your information and prevent your identity from being stolen. Indeed, hackers are continually devising new means to prey on vulnerable operating systems. Luckily for you, employing these and other tips can help stop hackers in their tracks.