Hacking is a growing problem online... here are 13 tips on how to prevent hacking to help reduce your exposure.
It’s estimated that the average user spends 28% of their time online browsing social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other sites. Social media sites often lead us to a variety of other sites as we check out blog posts and other websites.
As hackers become smarter about accessing our devices through the websites we visit, it’s vital to protect our computers, tablets, and smartphones from unauthorized access. Here’s how to prevent hacking and reduce the risks:
● Use a Virtual Private Network: Virtual Private Networks (VPN) allow you securely access information over a public network using dedicated connections and encryption. VPNs offer a solution to the problem of remote access to sensitive information.
● Install Antivirus Software: Antivirus software is a common sense measure. If you can’t find a paid program that you can easily afford, you should at least install a free edition.
● Regularly Scan your Computer for Viruses: Even if you have antivirus software installed, it’s a good idea to run a virus scan periodically.
● Keep your Software Updated: Viruses are constantly evolving. Turn on your "automatic updates" for Windows and regularly update any other programs that access the internet on your computer.
● Only Install Trusted Software: A trusted site like Microsoft or Apple doesn’t necessarily require extra vigilance, but software from any other site should be scanned before downloading it.
● Don’t Open Emails from Unknown Recipients: Unless you’ve signed up for updates from a specific site or you know the email is from a friend, send it to the trash.
● Don’t Click on Ads: Social media is riddled with ads. Some are completely legitimate, but it’s best to go to the company website on your own instead of clicking on an ad. Always avoid ambiguous ads that promise winning rewards or free dream vacations.
● Avoid Sharing USB Sticks: A USB flash drive can transfer a virus from one computer to another.
● Use a Firewall: Don’t allow open access to your computer or your network. A firewall limits public access to your device, so keep it on at all times.
● Stay Away from Unsecure Websites: If the website isn’t secure, don’t go there! You can identify secure websites by the “s” in address (e.g., “https://).
● Login with a Complex Password: The more complex the password, the harder it is to hack. Use a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols, and avoid using easily guessed designations like names or dates.
● Shop Safely Online: Be sure you’re shopping on a secure site before you enter payment information.
● Carefully monitor software downloads and updates for adware and malware: Avoid downloading freeware, and don't automatically accept the extra offers bundled with software … sometimes the offers are to install adware and/or malicious toolbars on your computer or device.
Hackers find their way into your operating system through the internet, but you can protect your sensitive information using protective software and programming, security protocols, and a little common sense, to prevent hacking.