Cyber-attacks are today’s reality. Every new day, there are people and businesses getting hacked. Even the “big guys” are not safe. The hackers seem to be ahead of everyone else leaving all of us vulnerable. However, although there are no guarantees for cyber security, you should never allow yourself to be an easy target for hackers. You can substantially protect yourself by avoiding some careless cyber mistakes that could put you at a higher risk of hacking. Here are a few ways to limit your exposure:
1. Make Sure to Log Out
You must develop a habit of logging out of all your accounts. Shutting down your computer is not equal to logging out. People can access your information from your open email or social media accounts. While using a machine in a public place, make sure you have logged out or locked the computer whenever you need to step away.
2. Avoid Clicking on Suspect Links
Suspect links include unexpected links, links in unrecognizable emails and links that promise access to sensational stuff. Hackers love infecting computers with malware by enticing users to click on links to get access or open an attachment. Some phishing and spam emails are hard to distinguish, and the golden rule is to avoid anything you did not expect to receive. You should also exercise caution when clicking social media shared links. Typically, avoid the sensational ones and ones shared by unverifiable sources.
3. Update Your Passwords and Don’t Reuse
There is an argument whether complex passwords can protect you or not. Of course, it’s better to have a password that ‘s hard to guess but which you can remember. It’s also important to update your passwords regularly. As you update, avoid the urge to recycle passwords. Hacking is not the glamorous job movies make it appear. Sometimes, putting together enough combinations of available information is all it takes to guess a password rightly. Being creative, avoiding generic and unchanged passwords and updating passwords periodically can go a long way in ensuring your cyber safety.
4. Use Anti-virus Software
The software might not be the answer to cyber-security, but it is a useful part of it. While sophisticated hackers can’t be stopped by using an antivirus, the software offers a layer of security. Update your antivirus software and heed any warnings of attacks and infections.
Anti malware software is also helpful because sometimes malware programs can sneak by even the best antivirus software.
5. Secure Your WIFI network and Use Public Wi-Fi with Caution
Wi-Fi networks can offer an easy hacking point to your laptop, accounts and network. As a rule, protect your network with a password and an updated security software. While using public Wi-Fi networks, avoid accessing your sensitive data.
6. Never Download from Unknown Sites or Shop Online on Insecure sites
A lot of hacking is done through the offering of free printables, wallpapers, and software. Never download from sites you neither inherently know nor trust. When shopping, make sure that your browser is showing the locked padlock or unbroken key symbol. The site’s address must also begin with “https” and not just “http”.
Although cyber security is a myth, you can easily avoid unnecessary exposure. Hackers rely on internet users’ gullibility more than their own tech skills. Understand that hackers are always on the loose looking to hack for fun or otherwise. Their skill is more about tricking you rather than your computer. They can take advantage of your trust, greed or altruistic impulses. Give them a hard time. Utilize technical solutions, pay attention and remain skeptical.