Some people fall victim to hacking from scams and malware more often than others do. It isn’t by luck that this is the case, either. Instead, it is the vigilant and the cautious who know what to look out for who tend to stay safer, while those who aren’t in the know are far more likely to get caught out.
Protecting yourself from hackers can be a relatively easy process. In fact, if not as easy as 1-2-3, try 1-2-3-4-5. These are our top tips which can make you (and your staff members) all but unhackable.
1. Look for HTTPS before entering personal info
Avoiding sensitive data leaking out on the internet can be as simple as making sure the site is secure before entering credit card or other sensitive details.
Doing that is pretty straightforward: just look in the top left of your browser. Every site starts with HTTP://. Not every site has HTTPS://. Those with the ‘S’ are secured with encryption to protect the data you’re entering/sending.
No HTTPS? No problem. Look for the HTTPS Everywhere tool from the Electronic Freedom Foundation; this extension makes any website secure and it doesn’t cost anything, either.
2. Think before clicking
Tempted to open what looks like a saucy bit of gossip? Want to satisfy your curiosity about the ‘tax refund’ you got? Don’t do it. Phishing emails (and websites) do their level best to trick you into clicking away.
If it looks dodgy, it probably is. Stop and think before clicking. If unsure, delete it.
3. Use VPNs for certain services
There are times when a virtual private network (VPN) is essential to ensure security from prying eyes on the ‘net. The biggest point at which this becomes necessary is also the most common one: when using free, public, unprotected wifi. Sure, we all love the ease of logging on to an open network, but you won’t want to get hacked. Use a VPN service, and surf all you like.
4. Manage passwords (and make them strong)
Strong passwords are potentially THE bane of our time. Even if you can come up with good ones, those are also typically forgotten immediately after they’re conceived of. That’s why you should consider using a tool to help. We’ve previously had a look at Password Chef and like what it does, but there are plenty of alternatives available. Make sure to use different passwords for different sites and services.
5. Two factors, always
Those who don’t want to get hacked use two-factor authentication (2FA) for everything. This is an extra layer of protection over and above the strong password you already have. A perfect example is a ‘one time PIN’ texted to your mobile; 2FA depends on something you know (password), something you have (the one time PIN) or something you are (fingerprint). Any one of those two factors adds up to, well, 2FA.
Getting 2FA for everything doesn’t depend on the site or service itself providing or requiring it. Instead, find an ‘authenticator’ app, like this one from Google, cunningly named Google Authenticator.