The holiday season is here. As we start to do our holiday shopping and swipe our cards more often (possibly at atypical places), it’s hard not to think about data breaches. Although retailers suffering from data breaches make the news regularly, it’s not the only way hackers can get your information.
If you’re not paying attention, it can actually be easy for even amateur hacker to steal passwords and credit card information. The steps you can take to protect yourself are fairly simple, if done regularly. So let’s go over a few of the simple rules of protecting yourself against hackers.
- Be cautious of public Wi-Fi – make sure networks are legitimate before logging in, and once on, be selective about the sites you visit (ie: it’s best to skip online banking while on public Wi-Fi).
- Use a password manager – when you use a password manager, you’re able to keep stronger passwords and conveniently change them regularly.
- Use VPN – when you use VPN information passing from your machine to the server is encrypted.
- Update your systems regularly – commonly used programs are commonly hacked; they’re also commonly patched. Patches will only help if you have the most up-to-date version.
- Use multiple firewalls and keep them up to date – most firewalls protect against 95% of threats. Layering them will help close the gap.
- Only visit secure sites – look for the https sites, the “s” stands for secure and means the server and site have been authenticated.
- Be wary of unexpected emails – don’t click on links if you don’t know what they are. It sounds simple, but people download viruses this way all the time.
- Check out apps before downloading them – check out who made the app before downloading it. If you aren’t comfortable with the maker, skip the download.
When it comes to protecting yourself against online hackers, you are the first line of defense. Be careful not to only rely on software to protect you; it also takes common sense and diligent practices. Always be mindful of your online behavior.