Cybercrime has shown that it is not going away soon, with hackers finding new ways to introduce malware and crumble organizations’ security. If your private cybersecurity is not strong enough, you stand the risk of cybercriminals gaining access to your information. Whether it is a smartphone, desktop computer, or PC, you need to educate yourself on the basics of protecting your data, hence this article.
Who Is a Computer Hacker?
A computer hacker is someone who uses malware to break into a device that belongs to another person. The device must be connected to the internet, and it can be a smartphone, tablet, or computer. The hacker’s intent is usually to steal, change, or collect information.
In more recent times, hackers have progressed from doing those three to holding an entire data bank hostage. Once cybercriminals gain access to an organization’s data bank, they will demand a ransom before granting the owners access again.
The common types of hacking are:
- Financial Crimes: This happens when hackers gain access to your financial information and make withdrawals or transfers. They do this by stealing your credit card information and other financial data.
- Vandalism: Like everything else in life, hacking has a culture. Sometimes, hackers who want to show off to their colleagues can break into a website and alter it.
- Hacktivism: It is the art of misusing computer techniques for socially or politically motivated reasons. Hackers who a
re hacktivists do not see their actions as a crime. Most believe they are working for the common good of all. A good example is the hacktivists group, Anonymous.
- Corporate Espionage: If you know about the Cold War, you know spying existed way before computers came into being. Corporate espionage is when one company hacks into another company’s network to steal information. They will, in turn, use it to build an unfair advantage over their competitors.
Each of these crimes mentioned above is becoming more prevalent as more people rely on the internet to get and store data. Seeing how connected the world is on the web, how then do you protect yourself from hackers?
Here are some basic things you need to know.
Enable Your Firewall
Most Windows and iOS devices have a built-in firewall to create an additional barrier between your information and third parties. Firewalls prevent unauthorized access to your business network and signal you of intrusions or an attempt to intrude. If your device has this feature, ensure you enable it before going online every day. If it’s the opposite, you might consider purchasing one.
Use Strong Passwords and Have a Password Manager
Believe it or not, passwords are one of your best bets to stay safe from hackers. In choosing a password, don’t for the obvious like your birthday or marriage anniversary. Always try to think outside the box and look at words that do not reflect you. Most hackers try using letters and numbers that have personal meaning.
Also, try to incorporate letters and symbols into your password. Most websites will not accept a password without those two. When you do this, you make it a little harder for hackers to break into your account. So, unless you want people to see your information on a platform like Dating Jet, you’ll pay more attention to your password.
You can take things a step further by using a password manager. It keeps track of all your passwords securely, especially the strong random ones that you cannot commit to memory. Google Chrome has a reliable password manager that pops up when you need it. However, you must save the passcode for the software to bring it back to you.
Use Passwords for Everything
If you have sensitive information or content on your device that you don’t want falling into the wrong hands, use a password. It goes beyond the one you use to unlock your phone or computer. You can password your file manager and other areas where you save documents.
Codes are better than biometric locks as someone can always lift your fingerprint and use it. The same goes for facial locks; all they have to do in that instant is place your face in front of the device to gain access.
Use Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
Two-factor authentication involves using a different channel as the second part of your password. It simply means that if the hackers get through one, they might not get through the other. This security method is double and one of the best ways to protect your devices.
For example, you can receive a one-time pin with a short life span each time you sign in to your device. 2FA is the most potent deterrent as most hackers would rather not spend too much time trying to gain access unless it is a targeted hack.
Encryption is a maths technique that scrambles your data so that a third party cannot read it without the proper key. For example, websites beginning with “https” use a secure encrypted method of sending data. This way, you and the receiving website know what’s being said, but others do not.
Switch Off Your Computer
Many people fail to turn their computers off after usage, leaving them prone to hackers. Unless you are working or using your device for other reasons, always turn it off. Once you turn it off, it breaks the connection any hacker might have had and disrupts any mischief.
In summary, protecting your private computer from hackers is your responsibility and no one else. Do not trust anyone with your password; always clear your browsing history, and avoid using unsecured public Wi-Fi.
About the author: Karl Murphy is a professional journalist from Des Moines, Iowa. After obtaining his Master’s degree, he’s launched his career and over its course, Karl was contributing to the popular publications for men.