Many of my customers tell me that they have been hacked or scammed. So I am writing a blog of how to protect your computer. Not everyone will follow all the tips I discuss, but when you are hacked, you wished you had. I am taking a course on hacking and becoming a white hat hacker so I can pass on some tips to you.
Hacking is when a criminal gains access to your computer or phone and steals your information. Hackers can gain access in two ways. One way is to install spyware/virus on your computer which then sends your data to the hacker. Opening an email attachment or links in email messages is a common way of installing spyware on your computer. The second way is to hack a website and steal email or other information stored there. The following ten tips will help you protect your information.
- Install and maintain virus and malware protection. It is important to have this kind of software deployed on your computer. Also check from time to time to see that it is working correctly. Also check your firewall that it is working.
- Update all software. Make sure that your operating system software is up to date with patches. Check your web browser, music player and internet software is updated.
- Passwords. Your network password is most important. Use a long randomized password on your home network. Do not use the same password for other accounts and websites and change your passwords periodically. Hackers can crack your password in many cases but you can make their life difficult by using a randomized long password. You can use LastPass, a free software, to remember your long passwords.
- Two step verification. Use two step verification where available on line when logging in. This process will send a code to your phone or email so that you will need to use that code to complete your logon.
- Phishing. Be suspicious of emails asking for passwords or other important information. Hackers frequently use this technique to acquire access to your computer.
- Cloud storage. Beware of using cloud storage. You do not own your own data. Most are accessible to hackers. If you do, use encryption to protect your files. Instead, back up files with an external hard drive or a flash drive. It is important to have at least one back up of your files in case you are hit with Ransomware.
- Privacy settings. Did you know that much of what you do on your computer is sent to Microsoft if you have a PC? There is a way to stop that if you want. Contact me for the details. Check your privacy settings on Google Chrome and other browsers so that you can limit data sent to them and limit pop-ups, etc. Check your app permissions on Facebook and other social media. Everybody wants to track you for commercial reasons.
- Administrator privileges. Don’t log into a computer with administrator privileges except where needed like to install software. This leaves your computer vulnerable to all kinds of risks. Once a hacker gains access to your computer with administrator privileges, he can do anything.
- Public WI Fi. Beware of public Wi-Fi because it is not secure. Don’t access your personal bank accounts or other personal accounts in these places.
- Default password of your router. All routers come with a default username and password. These should be changed when they are installed. You can use your Router log in page to do this.
Hackers take advantage of the smallest weakness. In the last year since November 2019, there have been 3,950 confirmed data breaches. External actors caused 70% of these breaches. Their motive was financial gain in 86% of the cases. The majority of these breaches were caused by credential theft and 37% used stolen or weak credentials. 43% of these breaches were attacks on web applications. Ransomware was used in 27% of incidents involving use of malware.
So if you have been hacked or in need of a security appraisal, call Perry’s Computer Repair at 443-783-2269 for quick and affordable service.