How to protect yourself from hackers online

Almost everyone nowadays has an online presence of some sort, whether it be through a social media account or a website. While the internet can be an outstanding resource, it can also be a magnet for hackers looking to exploit users’ personal information. Many of us have heard terrible hacking stories. Unfortunately, even if you’re careful about the information that you post online and how you conduct yourself there, your accounts can still get hacked.

Fortunately, you can make moves to protect yourself from these cybercriminals. This article will discuss some of the best ways to stay safe online. Keep reading for more tips on how to keep your data secure.

Use Strong Passwords

First things first, make sure your passwords are strong! Thieves can easily break into an online account by cracking simple passwords like ‘12345’, so be sure to choose something much more complex. A good rule of thumb is to go with a random string of letters, numbers, and special characters – for example *$f@#y*. It’s also important that you don’t use the same password across all of your accounts. If you do this and one account gets hacked, cybercriminals will have access to everything else. To remember all these different passwords without having to write them down somewhere, simply download a free app like LastPass or 1Password. 

These apps allow you to save all of your passwords in one secure location that only you can access with a master password. It’s best never to use the same password twice, but if for some reason this is completely necessary, then it’s still important that your passwords be different from each other. That way, if one gets hacked, hackers won’t be able to access everything else you have online.

Keep Your Personal Information Private

Hackers love getting their hands on personal information like phone numbers and home addresses because they can sell this information on the black market or even use it themselves for things like identity theft. In order to keep these details under wraps, try not to include them when signing up for social media accounts or making purchases online. If you do need to submit this type of information, make sure it’s encrypted and looks like gibberish to anyone else.

Be Wary Of Phishing Emails

If you receive emails from a company asking for your password or asking for personal information, then beware! This is most likely a phishing email that will have you handing over all your details to hackers. In the event that something really does require special attention from you, a company representative will contact you via phone call or text message instead. Here are some things to be aware of: 

– The email contains poor spelling and grammar – Hackers don’t have time to proofread their messages, so if yours does, be careful! 

– The email asks for your password – If this ever happens, do not follow the link provided in the email. Go to the site directly and sign up from there.

– The email appears to have been sent from an official account but has a suspicious link attached – That link leads you to another web address other than the one that was listed on Facebook (or whatever other services it appeared to be coming from). 

– There’s an attachment included with the message – Don’t open any files or click on any links; they could contain malware that will infect your device! Simply delete the email instead.

Avoid Public Wi-Fi Networks

Hackers can use public Wi-Fi networks like those found in coffee shops and restaurants to steal your personal information. To keep these details safe, only use a password-protected network or use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). VPNs encrypt your data and make it much more difficult for hackers to access your files.

Be Careful When You Browse

When you’re browsing the web, it’s important to be careful about what pages you visit. This is because many hackers use fake websites to trick people into handing over their personal information. If you are suspicious of a website, simply tap on your mobile device’s ‘Safari’ icon and then click the search bar. Once here, type ‘what is [website address]’ without quotes into Google, and this will tell you if the site is safe for viewing. This works because Google indexes all of its pages, so if someone tries to create an unsafe website pretending to be legitimate, this won’t fly with Google!

Use Antivirus Software

It may seem obvious, but antivirus software is important because it detects and removes any malware that’s installed on your device. There are very good free options out there, but you have to be diligent about keeping up with updates, or else you won’t get the benefits. If a virus isn’t detected until a few days after entering a device, it can be hard to remove from certain places like your apps.

Conclusion

We all know that hackers exist, and we’ve heard the horror stories, but we don’t think it will happen to us. Then suddenly, boom – your identity is stolen! The important thing to remember is that you can keep yourself safe from harm by staying vigilant online. In doing so, you’ll be able to sleep better knowing that your information is protected at all times from those who would do you harm.

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