We all hear those unfortunate stories about someone’s identity being stolen, a computer being hacked into, or a website is hacked and everyone is up in arms. Hackers have some serious skills and we never know if we’re at risk until it’s too late. We all need to become more knowledgeable to what they’re after and how you can keep your information safe.
Hackers 101: What they are after and how to protect yourself.
Hackers have multiple incentives when it comes to hacking into company or personal computers, but the main goal is to access or temper with confidential information. They want information that will make stealing your identity easier or will compromise your personal or company information. Think about it, on your phone alone a click of a button can reveal your entire email account, bank account, social media accounts, calendars and credit card information. Imagine what a hacker could access on your entire computer or company software? The scariest part is hackers don’t necessarily care if you run a corporation of have a mom and pop shop, they will tap into any type of system to cause a data breach.
A hacker may not be happy with a certain website, whatever the reason, they have ways to shut down an entire website. At this point, the hacker can release confidential information, belittling content or shut the entire site down, costing you money and can potentially harm to your reputation.
Hackers are smart. They bury their noses in computers all day long trying to learn new ways to hack into different software’s. According to “What is my IP Address” hackers rely on software to help them scan thousands of computers at a time and find out which ones are more “hackable” then others. Your computer could be taken over and then used to hack large companies, making it look like you’re the thief when you have no idea it’s happening at all. You’re computer basically becomes a zombie or slave and will do basically whatever the hacker controls it to do.
Tips to keep yourself safe:
Don’t reveal personal information on a website you are unsure of.
- For example, if you come across a fitness website and it immediately asks you to fill out a form, including your name, address, credit card information, just to receive information about the gym, don’t fill it out. If this gym is the one you want to join, we’d suggest you call the number provided first and go from there. You can usually tell how legitimate a company is within a few minutes of talking to them. This goes for any online forms, if for whatever reason you have an unsettling feeling about this website or form then you should go with your gut and not reveal any information.
- Banks will never ask for your SSN or password details via email or online messaging. A message of any kind like this should be deleted immediately.
- One of the most popular ways that hackers get innocent people to feed into their trick is by “phishing”. Alltop describes phishing as coming across an email or website that looks legitimate but it contains a link or file that will instantly infect your computer with a virus or complete access to the control of your computer.
Keep your laptop, computer, mobile device software up to date.
- Those notifications letting you know it’s time for an update can make your electronic device more secure from hackers. Taking the few minutes to update your computer or mobile device can go a long way. The updates help bugs and issues that have been discovered by the company over time and they also repair security and hacking weaknesses.
Keep your phone locked.
- Activate your fingerprint password so no one other than the activated fingerprints can get into your phone. Also, set your phone so you still put passwords into your accounts. We realize it’s not as convenient but you’ll be happy you did it if your phone is stolen or lost.
Make your passwords as customized as possible.
- Passwords such as “123456” and “password” are not smart passwords, hackers will be able to sniff that out in no time. This doesn’t necessarily mean having a different complicated password for every account, but having the same complicated password with one number or letter different will go a long way. Find out some smart password tips here.
- Avoid making passwords words found in a dictionary.
Constantly log out.
Whether you are at home or in a public space, logging out of any account can help prevent you from putting yourself at risk of identity theft or the revealing of personal information or documents. Hackers have so many ways that they can get into your computer or mobile device. The best way to prevent them from accessing your information is to simply stay on top of some self-security.
Protect yourself today so you’re not hacked tomorrow.