You’re never 100% safe from cybercrime, but that doesn’t mean you should roll over and let it happen. You can take steps to reduce your chances of falling victim to hacks.
Cyberattacks are a constant threat. The more we rely on our devices, the more vulnerable we are. Think about how much sensitive information you have stored in your smartphone.
Talk to your loved ones about being careful whenever they’re online. We have some tips for you to share with them at the end of this article.
I’m going to get you through your old accounts
Remember AOL? How about Yahoo? We understand that you may still be using these services as email providers, but when was the last time you updated your credentials?
Even if you haven’t used that old email account in years, a hacker who accesses it can gather information about you from your messages. They can then use that as a springboard to get at your other accounts, including your financials. If this is the case, your best bet is to delete those old accounts.
If your old email account is still seeing some action, change your login credentials using a password manager or at least make them stronger.
I’m going to get you through your old devices
As hackers get more sophisticated, developers and manufacturers build more safeguards into their wares. They also release patches and updates to fix vulnerabilities and enhance security. Over time, they stop doing so for older devices.
That first-generation Amazon Echo you have is no longer secure. Hackers can gain access to it and record your conversations. Were you discussing your savings with your spouse last night? Someone may have been eavesdropping.
Once your smart devices stop receiving updates, it’s time to get a new one. This goes for security cameras, hard drives, smart plugs, routers and even your browser.
I’m going to get you through Wi-Fi
When in public, imagine anyone around you can be a hacker (they won’t be wearing hoodies and masks). They want your information, and you’ll wave them right in if you connect to that unsecure Wi-Fi at Starbucks.
Crooks use public Wi-Fi to spy on unsuspecting users who join the network. They can create “honeypot” networks, which are fake networks designed to steal your information.
Are you checking your bank account on the mall’s free Wi-Fi? A hacker can walk away with your login credentials and ransack your account.
If you must use a public connection, you must also use a virtual private network (VPN) to protect yourself.
I’m going to get you through social media
Social media is a treasure trove of targets. Hackers love it when you flash cars, jewelry, cash and other fine things. You make their jobs even easier when you include too much personal information in your profile.
By all means, share your thoughts and memes. But does anyone need to know about your new gold watch? No, they don’t. Share your joyful purchases in private messages with people you trust.
Don’t include personal information in your profile or posts. Nobody needs to see your phone number, email address or place of employment. Keep a low profile, so to speak.
Tips to stay safe
Now that you know how hackers think, here’s how to protect yourself from them:
- Set up two-factor authentication (2FA) on all accounts that offer it, including social media and banking sites. The added security method dramatically reduces your chances of being hacked, as you must verify any login attempts manually.
- Keep your operating systems, apps and devices updated with the latest official software and patches.
- Never click on a link or download an attachment from an unsolicited email or text message.
- Password managers generate and store login information for all your devices and accounts. These programs can be installed as software or accessed through a website, browser extension or the cloud. Tap or click here for our recommended password managers.
- A VPN provides a layer of protection between your devices and the internet. It hides your IP address and location and encrypts your data after leaving your device. We recommend our sponsor, ExpressVPN. Get the only VPN service that Kim trusts on all your digital devices today.