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18 Ways to Secure Your Devices From Hackers

18 Ways to Secure Your Devices From Hackers

Cyber ​​security is critical for businesses of all sizes. These 18 tips can help you protect your computers and mobile devices from malicious people.

  • Hackers are criminals who gain unauthorized access to a network and devices, usually with the intent of stealing sensitive data, such as financial information or business secrets.
  • You can protect your computers by using firewalls and antivirus software, and by following computer best practices.
  • You can protect your mobile devices by turning off Bluetooth when not in use, being aware of the Wi-Fi networks you connect to, and using security apps for better monitoring and protection.– The growth of the World Wide Web in the 1990s introduced new possibilities and spawned new industries, but it also spawned new connectivity disadvantages. Tons of spam have started infiltrating email accounts and computer viruses have ravaged corporate networks. A new threat known as hacking has expanded the definition of theft to include infiltrating your computer, stealing personal information, deceiving you into disclosing private data, and using that data to steal and extort personal information such as trade secrets, bank account credentials and even people’s identities.

What are hackers?

Hackers are people who break into internet-connected devices such as computers, tablets and smartphones, usually with the intent of stealing, modifying or deleting information. Just like other thieves have malicious intentions, hackers often access devices for negative purposes. (One exception, however, are so-called white hat hackers, who are hired by companies to access their devices and find security holes that need to be fixed.) Hackers can and often want to steal, alter, or delete information on your devices. , so by installing malware (software used for malicious purposes), you may not even know it exists. These thieves can access your most valuable data before you are even aware of a theft.

types of hacking

Here are some of the reasons why hackers gain access to devices:

  • Financial crimes. We’ve all heard the classic story of someone checking their credit card statement, only to find transactions he didn’t make. These bogus transactions are often the result of hackers stealing your credit card numbers, verifying account information, or gaining access to other financial data.
  • Vandalism. Hacking has its own subculture, so some hackers may want to take down some websites just to show them to other hackers. Sounds ridiculous? Don’t make the mistake of not taking this motivation seriously; it’s quite common, according to Malwarebytes.
  • Hacktivism. This acronym describes a form of hacking similar to vandalism. Some hackers may want to alter or destroy certain websites for political reasons.
  • Corporate espionage. Spying existed long before the internet age and hacking has only made spying more accessible to ordinary people. With much of the world constantly connected to the internet, a company can hack other companies’ devices to steal their information and use it to create an unfair competitive advantage.

How to protect your computer from hackers

Despite the prevalence of hackers, most businesses rely on the internet to track their finances, sort and maintain inventory, conduct marketing and public relations campaigns, connect with customers, participate in social media, and perform other operations. criticisms. Yet we continue to hear about massive cyber breaches, even in giant companies with strong security measures.

Small businesses are also often targeted, especially as they may underestimate the risk of cybercrime and may not have the resources to deploy costly cybersecurity solutions. Follow these tips to protect your devices and safeguard your sensitive data:

1. Use a firewall.

Windows and macOS have built-in firewalls – software designed to create a barrier between your information and the outside world. Firewalls prevent unauthorized access to the corporate network and warn you of any intrusion attempts.

Make sure the firewall is enabled before connecting. You can also purchase a hardware firewall from companies like Cisco, Sophos, or Fortinet, depending on your broadband router, which also has a built-in firewall that protects your network. If you have a larger business, you can purchase an additional corporate network firewall.

2. Install antivirus software.

Computer viruses and malware are everywhere. Antivirus programs such as Bitdefender, Panda Free Antivirus, Malwarebytes and Avast protect your computer from unauthorized codes or software that can threaten your operating system. Viruses can have effects that are easy to detect, for example, they can slow down your computer or delete key files, or they can be less obvious.

Antivirus software plays an important role in protecting the system by detecting threats in real time to ensure data security. Some advanced antivirus programs provide automatic updates, further protecting your machine from new viruses that emerge every day. After installing an antivirus program, don’t forget to use it. Run or schedule regular virus scans to keep your computer virus free.

3. Install an anti-spyware package.

Spyware is a special type of software that secretly monitors and collects personal or organizational information. It is designed to be difficult to detect and remove, and tends to display unwanted advertisements or search results intended to direct you to certain (often malicious) websites.

Some spyware records every keystroke to access passwords and other financial information. Antispyware focuses solely on this threat, but is often included in major antivirus packages such as those from Webroot, McAfee, and Norton. Antispyware packages provide real-time protection by scanning all incoming information and blocking threats.

4. Use strong passwords.

Using strong passwords is the most important way to prevent network intrusions. The stronger your passwords are, the harder it will be for a hacker to break into your system.

Safer often means more time and more complex. Use a password of at least eight characters and a combination of numbers, uppercase and lowercase letters, and computer symbols. Hackers have an arsenal of tools to crack short and simple passwords in minutes.

Do not use recognizable words or combinations that represent birthdays or other information that may be associated with you. Don’t reuse passwords either. If you have too many passwords to remember, consider using a password manager, such as Dashlane, Sticky Password, LastPass, or Password Boss. [See related article: How to create a strong password]

5. Keep your operating system, applications and browser up to date.

Always install new updates on your operating systems. Most of the updates include security fixes that prevent hackers from accessing and exploiting your data. The same happens with applications. Today’s web browsers are becoming more sophisticated, especially in terms of privacy and security. Be sure to check your browser’s security settings and install any new updates. For example, you can use your browser to prevent websites from tracking your movements, which increases your online privacy. Or use one of these private web browsers.

6. Ignore spam.

Beware of unknown third-party emails and never click on links or open attached files that accompany them. Inbox spam filters have gotten pretty good at detecting the most notorious spam. But more sophisticated phishing emails that mimic your friends, colleagues, and trusted businesses (like your bank) have become commonplace, so beware of anything that looks or sounds suspicious.

7. Back up your computer.

If your business isn’t already backing up your hard drive, you should start doing it right away. Backing up your information is essential in case hackers manage to break through and destroy your system. Always make sure you can rebuild as quickly as possible after experiencing a data breach or loss. The backup utilities built into macOS (Time Machine) and Windows (File History) are good places to start. An external backup hard drive can also provide enough space for these utilities to function properly.

8. Close it.

Many companies, especially those running a web server, “all systems work” all the time. However, if you don’t run a complex internet-based business, turn off your machine at night or for long periods when you’re not working. Being on all the time makes your computer a more visible and available target for hackers; shutting down breaks the connection a hacker may have made to your network and stops any potential damage.

9. Use virtualization.

Not everyone has to go this route, but if you visit inaccurate websites, expect to be bombarded with spyware and viruses. While the best way to avoid browser-based intrusion is to stay away from unsafe sites, virtualization allows you to run your browser in a virtual environment, such as Parallels or VMware Fusion, which bypasses the operating system to keep it more secure.

10. Protect your network.

Routers usually don’t have the highest security settings enabled. When setting up your network, log into your router and set a password using a secure, encrypted setup. This prevents intruders from infiltrating the network and tampering with its settings.

11. Use two-factor authentication.

Passwords are the first line of defense against hackers, but a second layer increases security. Many sites allow you to enable two-factor authentication, which increases security by requiring you to enter a numeric code, which is sent to your phone or email address, as well as your password when you log in.

12. Use encryption.

Even if cybercriminals gain access to your network and files, encryption can prevent them from accessing that information. You can encrypt your Windows or macOS hard drive with BitLocker (Windows) or FileVault (Mac), encrypt any USB flash drive that contains sensitive information, and use a VPN to encrypt web traffic. Buy only from encrypted websites; you can see them immediately from “https” in the address bar, accompanied by a closed lock icon. [See related article: A Small Business Guide to Computer Encryption]

How to protect your phone from hackers

To protect your mobile device, you may need to take different security measures than you would to protect a computer. Follow these Webroot tips to protect your mobile devices from hackers:

13. Disable Bluetooth.

When you’re not using Bluetooth, turn it off. Keeping Bluetooth on but inactive opens up another backdoor for hackers.

14. Do not use unsecured public Wi-Fi.

Widely used passwordless Wi-Fi networks lack security features. As such, they are prime targets for hackers.

15. Get a security app.

Install a security app on your phone, just like you should install a firewall, antivirus software, and anti-spyware suite on your computer. Popular options include Avast, Kaspersky Mobile Antivirus, and Bitdefender.

16. Use a better password.

Unlock codes like 0000 and 1234 are easy to remember, but also easy to guess. Instead, opt for a randomly generated six-number passcode.

17. Disable auto-complete.

Autocomplete is the function that guesses what you are typing and completes the word, sentence or other information for you. While convenient, this tool hands hackers your email address, postal address, phone number, and other important information. Switch it off.

18. Clear your browsing history.

Your mobile web browser also has a browsing history. Clear it frequently, including cookies and cached files, to give hackers as little information as possible to work with in the event of a break-in on your phone.

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