Recently, a growing number of users have been suffering from hackers. Becoming a victim of hacking is much easier than it seems. In the new year, cybercriminals have already obtained at least tens of millions of passwords and even more emails. Digital security is an issue of national importance, but you should at least know how to protect yourself from hacking. W share ten simple rules that you should follow to reduce the risk of becoming a hacking victim.
1 Think of a strong password
First of all, you need a good password so that an attacker cannot guess it. You should not put a password that matches a nickname or name, consisting of the date of birth, events in your life, or banal passwords in the qwerty style, 12345, and so on. A good password should be at least 12 characters long and contain numbers, lowercase and uppercase letters. If the site uses both a login and a nickname, then the nickname should not coincide with the login to not give unnecessary information to potential hackers. Also, you don’t need to store passwords in browsers or text documents on your computer.
2 One password is not enough
If you have a strong password, you do not need to use it everywhere, even if it is very good. If one of the sites is hacked, the hacker will use the email address and password on other sites. It may be difficult for you to remember several passwords – then write them down on a piece of paper and hide them in a safe place where no one will find them.
3 Use an antivirus
Modern antiviruses not only remove viruses on your computer and block access to malicious sites but also check emails and download links, and show which sites are safe and which are not, and also protect your computer from outside intrusion.
4 Don’t click on suspicious links
When your singing teacher sends you a link saying, “Look, there’s a new GTA 7 – let’s play it together!” it’s easy to guess that the owner of the page has been hacked, and it’s not worth following the link. However, lately, the hackers have become smarter, and the links are selected according to the user’s interests and search queries, like contextual advertising. Therefore, you need to be on your guard. Pay attention to the link address. Often, hackers create an URL that looks like a familiar site, such as YouTube, to decide to watch the video using a familiar link.
Using phishing sites, hackers try to gain access to your sensitive data. The criminals create a page that is very similar to a website, for example, an exchange. But after entering your login and password, you will not get into your account, but intruders can get into it. Often the interface looks very believable; it is not always possible to distinguish a fake from the first time.
5 Encrypt the system
Encrypting the system ensures that no one can access any file on the computer without a password. It looks like a regular login, but in fact, it is much more secure (just guessing the password to the system is as simple as ABC). It is important to remember that it is impossible to access the files without the password used to encrypt the disk, so you should never forget or lose them.
6 Do not enter bank details
It would seem as simple and convenient. You can buy anything directly from home using the Internet. You need to select a product and pay for it with a bank card. This is exactly what scammers use. It is important to check the reliability of the HTTPS connection (it is displayed in the address bar); also, you can install special programs that will protect your data from the provider. And the most important and simple rule is to avoid purchases in online stores unknown to you.
7 Do not link accounts with each other
If a hacker gains access to one account, it costs him nothing to hack others if they are linked. It’s better to create many mailboxes for multiple accounts than to compromise all your data.
8 Use incognito mode
In incognito mode, all new cookies are automatically deleted when the window is closed. This is important because cookie hijacking is one of the most common and easiest ways to access other people’s data. Also, cookies form the user’s interests, and information about interests, as we wrote above, is one of the weapons in criminals’ hands.
9 Use a VPN
Using a VPN keeps your online activity safe from your ISP and, therefore, from hackers and intelligence agencies. With a VPN, you can even use public Wi-Fi and access the Web from unfamiliar places. A high VPN protection level will bring the user closer to the possibility of truly anonymous surfing the network. Yet, if the VPN is misconfigured, DNS and IP address leaks can occur, which can be exploited by hackers for criminal purposes.
10 Do not neglect program and system updates
Any program has security “holes” that the developers did not pay attention to and eventually become known to cybercriminals. With the release of the update, programmers will most likely try to eliminate the errors found, so it is necessary to download software and browser updates regularly. Besides increasing the protection of your computer, it will also improve its performance.