There is plenty of malware out there created to harm you. They get into your device through a simple click on a link or through the installation of a seemingly harmless application. You can lose sensitive information like your work or bank credentials, your personal data, including your location and route, your device can even be used for mining cryptocurrency and more.
How can you protect yourself?
There are a few brands that sell highly-secured devices like Purism with their own OS – PureOS, Blackphone 2 with Silent OS, Turing Phone, but their products are not widespread around the world. They can be hard to find, expensive, with limited functionality – not really meant for the average user.
If you are one, though – an average computer, tablet or phone user who wants to be as safe as possible, the tips that you are about to read next can be of great use to you. Your regular devices can contain valuable information that you surely want to hack-proof.
Limit the access
One of the most basic steps is to set up passwords for access. Use a random password that is long (more than 15 characters), include symbols, number, lowercase and uppercase characters. If your device allows it, use biometric data such as your fingerprint. You can also add an extra layer of protection with two-factor authentication.
Encrypt your data
Ok, so you limited the access to your computer with passwords, but what happens if somebody steals it? They will be able to disassemble it and connect your hard drive or SSD to their device and see all of the data. You can encrypt your data no matter your OS – Windows, MacOS, Linux, iOS or even Android. Encryption might damage the performance of the device, but it will increase the security of your files.
Keep everything updated
From the OS to every single application, you must update them on a daily basis. This includes all the add-ons that you use inside the programs and web browsers. Older version can have a security problem that hackers can exploit and gain access to your device.
Evade public Wi-Fi networks
We know, for many of you, Starbucks is your typical office, but their networks are not safe. Public Wi-Fi networks are easily hackable and all your data and work can end in somebody’s hands. If you really have to connect there is still one tool that can protect you, see the next point.
Use VPN – virtual private network
The VPN is a must-have tool. When you are connecting from your home, public Wi-Fi network or wherever, the VPN will encrypt the traffic. That way, even if a hacker intercepts your data, they won’t be able to read it. There are some free VPNs and others that cost as little as 5 USD per month. You can use a VPN for computers, tablets, and mobile phones.
Be careful with phishing emails
It is getting harder to distinguish between a real and a fake email. Here’s what to do when an email seems suspicious:
- Check the email’s URL. Fake emails often have a similar domain name, but with extra letters or symbols.
- Don’t provide personal information, even if the URL seems legit. It can be spoofed and your data can go directly to a cybercriminal.
- Don’t click on attachments or links in any of the suspicious emails.
Don’t visit shady sites
Have some common sense. If the website looks shady, skip it. Almost every site out there uses certificates for authentication, usually an SSL certificate. If the site you want to visit doesn’t have one, you’d better not enter.
We could have added a “stay offline” tip, but realistically speaking, now nobody can truly stay offline. Use all of these tips together for the best results, regardless of the connected device. Being hacker-proof is a basic need for most of us. You can stay relatively safe with just a bit of extra effort. It is worth it.