How To Not Get Hacked

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As life migrates online staying safe has become more important than ever. Lock down your digital exposure by keeping your devices updated, securing your passwords and using good judgment.

Stay Current

Whether you’re using Microsoft or Apple electronics, make sure your software is up to date. Using an old operating system leaves you vulnerable to threats that have been addressed by updates in current versions. Beefing up security with an antivirus program is also a good idea. Mac users may think they don’t need additional software due to Apple’s famous security. There’s some debate on this subject but if you’re downloading pirated software or exposing yourself to other risks online extra measures may be necessary. Alternatively, avoiding torrents and other potentially sketchy sources of malware could save you headaches in the future.

Manage Your Passwords

Don’t use the same password for everything. Every login you have is a potential risk if that website gets hacked. If it’s too much to remember – and if you’re actually using a different password for the myriad of accounts you have, it almost certainly is – download a password manager program or handle things the old-fashioned way and write them down on a piece of paper. A piece of paper stored in a secure place, obviously. The consequences can vary from everyone in your address book getting spammed to having your bank account emptied but none of the scenarios are pleasant.

Avoid Public Networks

Airports, coffee shops and any other public spaces with open wi-fi present an opportunity for hackers to pick up your data as it travels wirelessly. If you have to use an unsecured network, avoid opening your email or online banking. Those precautions may not be enough if hackers are picking up your data using a man-in-the-middle attack before you connect to the network – a best practice is to consider anything you send over public wi-fi at risk.

Be Proactive

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. You could spend a few minutes on your main accounts enabling two-factor authentication, answering the secret questions and linking your phone number to your email. Or you could spend the better part of a day frantically trying to secure your accounts and emailing all your friends and relatives “I’ve been hacked” after you weren’t able to change your password before the hackers did.

Back Up Your Data

Even with your best efforts, bad things may happen anyway. Backing up your hard drive, phone and other devices is always a good idea. This not only protects you against ransomware attacks but also theft and hardware failures. You can back up to the cloud, an external hard drive or both, just remember to keep your backups as secure as anything else. If you’re worried about drive failure and you’re not comfortable with cloud backups, USB drive storage capacities have become large enough to function as backup drives.

Getting hacked is embarrassing at best. At worst, it can lead to significant financial consequences and loss of vital files. Spend a little time securing your accounts now and save yourself future hassles.