How to avoid hackers and stay safe online

Gone are the days when hackers faced a mountainous problem to gain access to your phone, computer system, blog, website and network.

If you’re among the lucky ones who have survived such attacks, don’t celebrate until you read this.

Anyone’s security information can be compromised. That’s true.

However, some careless mistakes go a long way in deciding how long we can fight off these ruthless hackers and stay safe online.

You must have read about the US-Russia cyber fallout. It’s not a joke. Governments are fighting dirty with whatever tools they have, breaching trusts and putting citizens at risks.

21st century hackers no longer need days or weeks to gain access to your private information although their success greatly depends on your ignorance. Technological development has made it possible that any data, including encrypted ones, can be easily stolen from miles away with just one click.

How do they do that?

Yahoo Inc., LinkedIn, Sony, and Facebook are among the long list of companies which have fallen prey to cyber criminals.

Most celebrities, including Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg and some people you know, have their own stories to tell, too. There’s a great chance that you’ve been hacked, even if you don’t know it yet.

The Ponemon Institute, a research center for internet security, said in 2014 that about  47% of US adults had their personal information exposed by hackers.

Here are a few tips to keep you safe online and offline:

Enable 2-Step Authentication

Most of us feel so lazy when prompted to enable a second verification method for our emails, online banking or chat apps. The truth is, doing this not only protects your passwords but makes it nearly impossible for even the most experienced hackers to intrude on your privacy.

Enabling this second layer of protection means you’ll be required to reconfirm your password with a code which will be sent to your chosen phone/email anytime you sign in.

This can be disabled for a private computer and set for “unknown devices” only, but you’re advised to use this method at all times

Do Not Save Passwords In Browsers

It’s true that most internet browsers are making efforts to save us time and ease the “pain” of having to key in passwords all the time. But how many seconds do you really need to hit that keyboard for Peter’s sake?

Internet Explore and Google Chrome are a few examples of browsers with responsive password management systems.

Whenever the pop-up question “Save password for this site?” appears, every user may choose to accept or decline, if you wish to manage your passwords manually – which is the best advice.

Do not click on “Remember Passwords” if you’re using a public computer system otherwise you’re simply asking to be hacked. Do not “remember passwords” even on your phones in case someone learns your phone password. It’ll be a double loss if this happens.

Try Hating Freebies

We do appreciate gifts, and if you like – “free gifts.” Now you should be asking what can probably be “free” in “gifts”.

Open wi-fi networks aren’t always bad; they make life easy for most of us who are addicted to saving our internet data but love to connect. The only problem is, free wi-fi networks can easily be manipulated by experienced hackers.

Cyber criminals only need to download a software and apply some configurations which grants them access to every password and username you send over the internet.

YouTube now has more than 300,000 videos on WiFi hacking. Some of those videos have been viewed more than a million times by those who are either learning the trade or trying to stay safe online. You never know.

Among those viral videos is one they tagged “How To Hack Any WiFi Hotspot In 30 Seconds.” Can you believe that?

In case you don’t think it’s true, hacking has become a free-for-all practice, excluding you and me.

Here’s what you can do to be safer:

Change your behavior:

We all make the mistake of filling out our private information like date of birth, age, street address and more, just to maintain a complete social media profile. But these mistakes can easily provide hackers and criminals with an easy access to our lives.

Back Up You Data/Use Online Storage:

“If there’s one thing I have to hammer home with everybody, it’s back up your data,” an expert advised. Don’t keep them on your systems. Instead, use a password-protected back-up storage like iCloud.

By doing so, you won’t have to worry much even if your phone or computer gets stolen.

Do not save nude pictures on your phone. If you receive such from loved one, ensure that you delete them from all storage points, including the thrash folder.

Keep Your Operating System And Web Browser Updated:

Whether you use phones or computer systems for online browsing, one thing to bear in mind is that hackers can only attack when they have a chance. In most cases, they depend on us to provide those loopholes.

Keep your phones and computers up to date with the latest security upgrades. Do not risk your safety for that little extra MB it’ll occupy in your storage space.

Change your passwords more frequently.

Do not write your passwords on a piece of paper. Memorize and keep them in your head.

If you’re logging in and a peeping Tom is nearby, type a wrong password or wait for them to leave.

Use a reliable antivirus.

4 thoughts on “How to avoid hackers and stay safe online