Hacking Secret: What Hackers don’t Want You to Know (2015)
CHAPTER 5: HOW CAN YOU PROTECT YOURSELF FROM HACKERS?
USE COMPLICATED PASSWORDS
There are a lot of ways that hackers can get your information but one of the easiest ways they do it is by breaking your password. When you use something familiar to you, like your children’s names or pets names, it’s very easy for hackers to crack these passwords. You don’t want to use something that anyone else would suspect because it’s going to be easy for them to get in and you’re just inviting even the least experienced hackers to break in.
Instead, use a complicated password that doesn’t actually mean anything to you. That means you don’t want your password to have anything to do with your personal life. If you need to pick a word you can do so, but you want to keep it something random that you wouldn’t necessarily expect to be a password. You want to make sure that you are using plenty of extra security features, which means symbols, numbers and random capitalizations.
For example, if you choose the word ‘book’ you might want to add in some numbers and symbols. So you might end up with B00% instead. You then have a capital letter, two numbers and a symbol, which reduce the risk of someone just getting lucky and figuring it out. Of course, the more random your combinations the better off you’re actually going to be. So try to create something that no one would guess or happen across by accident.
You also want to use strong answers for your security questions. In all actuality you shouldn’t even use the correct answer to your questions. For example, if the question is ‘your favorite teacher’ your answer may be something entirely random, like ‘blue.’ This also reduces the chances of being hacked by someone who’s not quite as advanced at hacking; they won’t be able to guess your answers easily.
Of course, more advanced hackers are not going to waste their time attempting to figure out your password. They may spend a few minutes trying something obvious to see if they can guess but after a little time they will decide to use a brute force attack or a simple dictionary hack. These will allow them to just break through the security features rather than trying to work around them. This will take time and effort however, depending on the strength and security of the individual company that is storing your information or responsible for securing the information at least.
USE STRONG VIRUS PROTECTION
While we’re talking about some of the ways you can screen out the less advanced hackers is to use a very strong, and well known virus protection company. Now there are a number of different virus protection software’s you can choose from but you want to make sure that the one you choose has great reviews and great abilities for protecting your website. After all, it’s extremely important that your virus protection is able to keep out some of the less experienced hackers (and as many of the more experienced as possible).
The unfortunate thing is that some hackers will trick you into downloading their ‘virus protection’ which allows them to easily get into your account. You want to make sure that you aren’t getting pulled into this. Instead, purchase your virus protection from a reputable company such as Norton or MacAfee which will provide you with some of the best protection and at a reasonable rate (so you don’t have to go broke trying to protect yourself). Hackers will have a harder time breaking through your virus protection to get to your information (though highly skills ones will not be stopped).
Make sure that you are not combating your virus protection either. Some people try to overprotect their computer by setting up more than one virus protection system. The problem with this is that most virus programs are not compatible. This means your virus scanner is actually going to detect the other scanner and try to disable it. Because both of your virus scanners are attempting to disable each other they will not be able to protect you from much of anything that’s going on around you. That means you’re actually less protected than you were with only one virus scanner instead of more.
The best thing to do is look at what each scanner can provide you and determine which one gives you the best protection. If you want the best quality you’re usually going to have to pay for it. The best virus companies don’t give away their services for free. But you need to look for different types of scanning ability as well as updates, cleaning features and script blocking or detection. If you don’t have these types of protection it becomes much easier for your computer to be infected and someone to gain access to your information.
You want your virus scanner to perform updates frequently. You should be able to get free updates from the company that you purchased the software from. If you can’t get at least minor security updates free keep looking for another service. You’ll get good benefits from this type of virus protection (it may be one of the better options) but you’re going to spend a lot of money on it. If you’re really looking for the best virus protection this might be a good way to go but if you want something high quality but less expensive you can opt for something with more updates at a lower charge.
Make sure you have the ability to schedule automatic updates so your computer checks for any problems weekly or even daily. You get to schedule when these updates happen and what type of scan is done when they do. You can generally select from basic scans and extremely detail-oriented scans. Because these scans happen frequently you are able to detect any problems before they are able to get too much from you. You should also have your software programmed to immediately ‘clean up’ any of the problems that it detects.
Check for on-demand scanning also. This is important because there may be times when you recognize something is wrong with your computer. If you do, you want to be able to scan it immediately and look for whatever the problem may be. These types of scans can also be basic or highly detailed and will help you understand any problems as well as getting rid of those problems quickly. This will not change your scheduled scans so if you scan at 2 pm and you have a scheduled scan for 4pm you will still get the scheduled scan as well.
Finally, make sure that you have email scans, ways of checking out emails that seem somewhat suspicious. Your email scanner will actually check any email that you receive but it definitely alerts you to suspicious looking information. Your email server will likely do the same thing, helping you understand that an email seems a little strange for some reason, whether it’s the content, the title or anything else. Make sure your virus scanner is capable of detecting these things and that it will alert you of them. It’s better to be safe than sorry after all so let your scanner tell you there may be a problem. If there isn’t then no harm done. But if there is you’ve just saved yourself a lot of headache.
DON’T OPEN ANYTHING YOU DON’T KNOW
One of the ways that a lot of hackers get into your accounts and your information is that you open the door. No, we’re not saying that you do it on purpose. What’s happening is that you get an email from someone you’ve never met or never heard of and you decide that you want to read it. Usually, reading the emails is not dangerous and you’re okay, but they almost always include a link or a file to download. When you download the file or click on the link you actually end up downloading a harmful virus that could destroy your computer or steal your information (or both).
In most cases you don’t even realize what’s happened until your information is stolen or your computer stops working because the hackers just don’t want you to. It’s important that you never open something if you don’t know where it came from or what it is. What’s unfortunate is that hackers can be extremely sneaky and they can sneak information to you (or others) without anyone realizing it. What they do is hack into your email account (or the account of someone you know) and then they send out emails. Since you know the person who’s sending the email you assume it’s safe to open and safe to click on any links.
What you should watch for when you’re looking for dangerous emails? Watch for an email that comes from someone you don’t know, or that has little content. Emails from hackers will often have no subject line or they may have only a link to click on without any other information. Consider what the email looks like when you receive it. Does it look like something you normally get from that person? If it seems suspicious talk to them before you open it. It’s much better to have them laugh and tell you everything is fine then to download a virus and end up with big problems.