What do you know about hackers? They can be strangers, people you know, in person, or online. They’re in it for the money, power, fame, or even just to learn how to break things.
Technology has made our lives both safer and more vulnerable. We are safer because we can easily find directions, contact someone on the other side of the globe, or order a pizza precisely when we want it. But at the same time, all this technology also means that hackers can use their advanced techniques to break into anyone’s computer, tablet, or smartphone – including yours!
We live in a world where hackers are everywhere. They infiltrate our systems, steal our data, and cause us to worry about the safety of our loved ones. In this article, we’ll share with you some tips for preventing hackers from targeting your devices and stealing your most valuable information.
Defend against hackers
Now that we know so much about hackers, their methods, and their tools, it’s time to figure out how to defend against them. First, we need to check that our systems are adequately protected. The focus is on solutions that make it harder to get in – there is no such thing as 100% protection in this area of life!
The most important thing is to protect the computer you use every day as much as possible. Windows security updates should therefore be installed automatically to close any vulnerabilities found in the operating system as quickly as possible. Nor should you forget to install a security software package – fortunately, the more popular versions on the market offer pretty good protection now.
In addition to Windows and security software, you should keep your user programs up to date, especially those constantly connected to the Internet, such as your browser and mail client. For example, in the browser case, uBlock Origin can be beneficial: it blocks ads and prevents drive-by downloads and complex scripts from running.
Be careful when surfing the Internet
Your passwords must be strong enough never to use them more than once to protect yourself. It’s essential to protect your mailbox because if an attacker hacks into it, they can use the password reset on lots of other accounts, sending the recovery code or a new password straight to you. Of course, no one can be expected to remember all those complex passwords, so some password vault is required. For example, the open-source Keepass or the cloud-based Bitwarden, available online, are excellent target tools.
It’s always worth being suspicious of unexpected mail from an unknown address, and suspicious plug-ins should never be clicked on. Wherever possible, turn on multi-factor authentication – this means that even if the password is guessed, a second, independent, one-time use will be required to log in.
Shut down the local network
The firewall built into Windows reliably protects your computer from outside attacks, but there may be devices on your network – smart TVs, IoT devices, etc. – that are entirely open. Especially with cheaper, no-name devices, manufacturers don’t care about IT security at all and don’t even close basic vulnerabilities, allowing hackers to backdoor into our network. The first and most important line of defense against this is a firewall integrated into the router. Therefore, you should regularly check your router’s settings to ensure no unnecessary open ports in the system.
Protect your personal data
The less data we have online, the harder it is to carry out a personalized attack. Many service providers only need to know your name, date, place of birth, and address to identify you. If this can be easily obtained, for example, from Facebook, it should be no problem to unsubscribe or even subscribe to different services. With personal data available, a hacker can also gain our or our friends’ trust by pretending to have known us for a long time. If this is successful, we are more likely to open an attachment in a letter. Social networking sites are goldmines in this respect, not to mention that almost all of them offer a file-sending option. Sensitive data can also fall into the hands of an attacker by abandoning or selling something that has not been carefully managed, be it an old hard disk or a complete notebook computer. Before uploading them to Vatera, HardwarePro, it is necessary to wipe them as thoroughly as possible. This can be done, for example, with Eraser or Darik’s Boot and Nuke (DBAN), which will overwrite the previous data in several passes if necessary.
Create usable backups
Of course, IT experts are not immune from cybercriminal attacks. One of the first victims of SolarWinds was the IT security company FireEye, which specializes in pen testing and vulnerability detection. Even so, they were unable to prevent the hacking tools they had developed from being stolen.
The last line of defense is backing up: do this at regular intervals. Backups should be made to external media, which should be connected to the computer only for the duration of the backup process. It is best to have 2 or 3 of these drives and to rotate them, as an uninfected version is likely to be available in the event of a ransomware attack. Programs such as Duplicati or Personal Backup are also suitable for backups. It’s also worth thinking about backing up your emails – you can do this with Mailstore Home and then copy them to an external storage device.