Keep Your Tech Secure and the Cyber Thieves Away
As our tech gets more advanced, unfortunately, so do the tactics of cyber thieves. Scams and traps to get access to your personal information are harder than ever to identify as they are often disguised to look like safe and normal things that you do every day. There’s nothing to worry about, however, if you have the right tools and awareness to protect your devices and identify potential scams. Here are our best tips to protect your devices and some recommendations on what tools to use in the process.
Note: If you think that your device has already been infected with a virus or malware, the best thing to do is to turn the device off and bring it to a repair professional.
Password protection and password managers
Experts say that the best passwords are a series of seemingly random numbers, letters, and symbols and that you should not use the same password for multiple sites. While that sounds like good advice, it’s much easier said than done. With all the sites that require the use of usernames and passwords, how could anyone be expected to make them completely unique but also remember them? This is where a password manager can really come in handy.
Programs like LastPass, Keeper, and Dashlane are designed to save all of your usernames and passwords like an address book. First, you create a browser extension using one of these programs, and then when you visit a site and log in, the program will ask you to save your username and password. The next time you visit that site, the program will automatically remember your password so that you don’t have to type it in. These programs will suggest strong passwords for sites and remember them for you, taking the guesswork out of logging in.
Different programs come with varying price tags, but most have a free option for you to try before committing. Password protection is the easiest step you can take to avoiding identity theft, and should not be taken lightly.
Using Only Secure Wifi Networks
Now that every coffee shop and subway station has free Wifi, it can be easy to feel secure using them to check your private information. If you’re connecting to a Wifi that does not require a password, you are using an unsecured network and you should avoid using it. Hackers and cybercriminals are known to set up fake hotspots to try to lure people into using them so that they can spy on their important data. They can also use these unsecured networks to distribute viruses and malware. The easiest way to avoid falling into this trap is to avoid unsecured wireless networks or use a VPN. A VPN is a service or app that encrypts your data making it impossible for a hacker to decipher it. Popular VPN services like NordVPN or Express VPN are worthwhile investments if you’re frequently using public or unsecured networks for work or school.
Stay up to date with updates
When your computer or phone asks you if you’d like to download the latest update, don’t delay it. New updates to the operating systems tend to include security updates and bug fixes improving your defense system.
Don’t click on pop-ups, unknown links, or suspicious messages
The most frustrating thing about how smart cyber-hackers are is the way they are able to disguise their efforts to look like something harmless. It’s getting harder to identify potential threats online, but staying aware is key. If something looks suspicious, don’t click on it. Companies, the government, and friends rarely ask you for your personal information online, so never give anyone this information without being absolutely positive that it is legitimate. Be wary of surveys, sweepstakes, and other enticing offers that seem too good to be true.
Cyber thieves and hackers are smart, but being wary of your activities online and the sites you visit can have a huge impact on whether or not you are targeted.