How to avoid getting hacked
It is imperative to take preventative measures to avoid being hacked and having your data compromised. Any device with internet access, such as your router, computer or mobile device is susceptible to being hacked.
If you get hacked, that means that someone with unauthorised access has infiltrated your private and confidential information, and your files can then be shared, viewed or copied without your permission.
Getting hacked can happen to anyone, from a home individual user to a large-scale corporation. Cybercriminals always look for ways to exploit data protection systems.
There are various types of attacks used by hackers
- Brute Force Attack: An automation software or malicious person that tries different combinations of login details, passwords and encryption keys until it hopefully matches yours and gains access.
- Phishing Attacks: Cybercriminals will try to trick, persuade and pressure you into revealing your passwords and personal information, by creating fake websites, fake emails and clickbait which may result in you giving your sensitive information.
- Man-in-the-Middle Attacks: An attacker intercepts communication between two parties and secretly alters and relays the traffic between the parties. They lead the victims to believe they are communicating with each other and steals information.
- Denial-of-Service Attack (DoS Attack): The aim of a denial-of-service attack is to deny a user access to a machine or network temporarily or indefinitely causing a disruption to services. This is generally achieved by flooding the network with traffic from various sources, triggering a network crash.
Email phishing and spoofing. If you would like to know more, read our Email phishing and spoofing article.
Signs you may have been hacked
If you notice anything odd happening on your computer, you may have been hacked. Things to look out for:
- Random popup messages.
- Unwanted software installs.
- Get ransomware or antivirus messages.
- Internet searches are redirected to an alternative page.
- Your passwords are no longer working.
- Your mouse moves sporadically and makes odd selections.
- Your friends receive social media invitations from you that you didn’t send.
- Strange network traffic patterns.
Your personal data can be protected by adhering to some security measures and using an Antivirus or Malware software.
How to avoid being hacked
Ensure you use a strong and secure password. Data should be encrypted, including online login details as well as personal and work laptops that have sensitive data.
Secure Password. If you would like to know more about Password Security please read our Help Centre article for more detail.
Your router is preconfigured with default log in details, this is the standard for all routers which means anyone aware of the default log in details can access your router. When you get a new router, it is advisable to change these default log in details.
Change your router admin details. If you would like to know more about How to secure your WiFi router please read our Help Centre article for more detail.
Be sure to keep all your devices up-to-date with any new firmware available with security patches to keep your devices secure.
Install a reputable anti-virus and firewall software to protect your data. An Antivirus is used to scan, detect, prevent and delete viruses from your computer and a firewall is either hardware and/or software that protects your network by filtering and blocking traffic from gaining access to your private data without permission.
- Scan your computer for viruses and malware
Ensure that all your tech devices have an up-to-date antivirus or malware application installed, keep it updated by turning on auto-updates and run a full system scan at least once a month.
Set your Router to Auto-Update. If you would like to know How to set your router to auto-update the firmware, please read our Help Centre article for easy to follow steps.
Do not leave your devices open and/or unlocked and do not share any passwords. Encrypt any sensitive documents to makes them unreadable by hackers.
Cybercriminals use various malicious methods to obtain your data, this may include fake financial websites, emails aimed at obtaining your passwords or viruses that infect your mail server to promote unwanted content. Never click on strange links, open suspicious emails or visit untrustworthy websites. Ensure that websites that require you to submit your personal information have an SSL certificate installed. e.g: https:// or a padlock in front of the URL.
Understanding SSL certificates. If you would like to Understand SSL certificates, please read our Help Centre article for easy to follow steps.
Ensure you back up all your data and files regularly. If something does happen to your files you still have a copy. There are various means of backups made easy by current technology, cloud backup and offline backups.
Cloud backup – A remote online storage facility that you can use to safely backup your data on a server, which can be accessed from any computing device and in any location.
There are various platforms you can use for cloud backup i.e: Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox and iCloud etc.
Offline Backup – A traditional method of a backup system where the data is stored on a physical storage device such as a portable USB dive or an external hard drive and kept in a safe place.
REMEMBER! Be sure to schedule and automate your backups to keep your data updated.
The best protection from being hacked is to be proactive and take steps to protect yourself and your data, then to be reactive and need to block your accounts, change passwords and reinstall your back up data.