Threats are everywhere on the internet today. Not a day passes by without news of a data breach, identity theft scam, or ransomware attack. Although it can be overwhelming, there are preventative steps you can take to prevent hackers from being successful. Here are five simple ways you can protect yourself from hackers:
1. Cover Your Webcam
Hackers love to snoop on people’s webcams — so they can infect them with malware. Their favorite tool is a remote access Trojan that takes over your computer, steals files, records your conversations, and can even activate your webcam to spy on you.
The most effective way to cover your camera is to use painter’s tape. Designed to stick evenly and be removed easily without damaging the target surface, this tape can be bought at any hardware store or paint supplies store.
Covering your webcam is no substitute for keeping your computer patched and running strong antivirus software. The best approach: cover your camera and use antivirus software.
2. Encrypt Your Hard Drive
If your hard drive is not protected by data encryption, a hacker can steal anything on it — including photos, financial documents, personal communications, and work data.
Data encryption is software that converts the information stored on your computer into code that is unreadable to hackers. Both major operating systems, Windows and Mac offer free, automatic encryption. Window’s version is BitLocker and Mac’s is FileVault.
3. Use Password Management Software
This lets you store multiple passwords in encrypted form so you don’t have to remember them. You can access all your passwords using one master password and are automatically logged in to your favorite sites.
4. Protect Your Home Wi-Fi Network
Your system comes with a default username and password that’s the same for every unit. Change the settings immediately because they are favorite targets for hackers to access your wireless security system. Never fail to install the updates.
At the same time, buy a top-quality router. The same drill applies — change the default login and password before installing, and regularly update the firmware.
Secure your Wi-Fi network with unique login credentials that are difficult to guess. Use WPA2 network encryption and a firewall.
5. Protect Your Identity
Here are some tips from USA.gov:
- Secure your social security number (SSN). Don’t carry your social security card in your wallet or write your number on your checks.
- Don’t respond to unsolicited requests for personal information (your name, birthdate, social security number, or bank account number) by phone, mail, or online.
- Watch out for “shoulder surfers.” Shield your keypad when typing your passwords on computers and at ATMs.
- Collect your mail promptly. Ask the post office to put your mail on hold when you are away from home for several days.
- Pay attention to your billing cycles. If bills or financial statements are late, contact the sender.
- Review your receipts, and compare them with account statements. Search for unauthorized transactions.
- Shred receipts, credit offers, account statements, and expired cards, to prevent “dumpster divers” from getting your personal information.
- Store personal information in a safe place at home and at work.
- Install firewalls and virus-detection software on your home computer.
- Create complex passwords that identity thieves cannot guess easily.
- Order your credit report once a year and review it to see if it includes accounts that you did not open.