How Can I Keep Hackers Out Of My Computer, Smartphone, and Tablet?
Cyber attacks are at an all-time high and hackers are always looking for new ways to get access to your devices. Criminals know there's important data stored on your gadgets. Think of all of the passwords you store on your tech devices, as well as the sensitive sites like your bank you use your devices to connect to on a daily basis. It makes sense that you want to keep that information out of prying eyes, if you don't you risk cyber crooks stealing your personal and financial information.
Big tech has stepped in recent years to keep your computers and smart devices are safe from most of the cyber attacks out there. 99% percent of all cybercrime requires user interaction. which means if your device ends up getting hacked, it means you fell for a hacker's clever trick to get you to click on a phishing link or tech support scam that gave them access to your devices. The firewall and anti-virus protection in modern operating systems can stop most attackers. Even though it's rare for someone to just force their way into your device, there are some vulnerabilities that allow them to get directly into your gadgets that you need to be aware of.
1. Tech Companies Won't Call Out Of The Blue To Alert You To a Problem With Your Device. It's important to understand big tech doesn't care what happens to your devices. Sure you will get the occasional reminder for device maintenance or updates, but you will never get phones from Microsoft, Apple, or your Internet provider informing you of problems with your devices. I know there are some of you reading thinking "No one falls for these scams", but in reality a good percentage of the population does. My company Integral is constantly bombarded with calls from people who have fallen victim to the "Tech Support" scam. If a tech company calls you out of the blue, simply hang up the phone. If you're surfing the web and alerts appear telling you there is a problem with your devices, simply turn off your device and turn it back on to disable these fake alerts.
2. Keep Your Devices Up to Date. Cybercrime is always evolving which is why you need to make sure you update your computers, smartphones, and tablets. Updates are a pain in the "you know what", but downloading them helps keep your devices safe from the latest operating system vulnerabilities from viruses and ransomware. Your mobile devices and computers are designed to automatically download updates. When you're asked to install them, resist the urge to prevent them from installing. When you use devices that don't have the latest updates, you open your gadgets up to hackers gaining control of them.
3. Watch Out When Installing Programs. Don’t just download any old apps to your devices. Apps in the Apple App Store, Google Play Store, and the Microsoft Store are normally checked before they are uploaded to the store. Sometimes a malicious app can slip through. If these apps get on your gadgets, they can create havoc.
4. Not all Websites are Safe. Criminals are aware you spend a lot of your time surfing the web and have set up bogus websites that are designed to trick you into thinking there is a problem with your devices and ones that are designed to hack into your gadgets. Watch the spelling of your favorites as a misspelling can get you into trouble. Pay attention to those ads and popups as well. Criminals actually spend money to take out ads to get you to click on them in order to trick you out of your money or gain access to your computer and related devices.
5. Use Strong Passwords. I know you hate passwords, but it's best you create strong passwords to keep your devices as well as your online accounts safe. If you suck at creating passwords, use the password creators built into most password keeper software such as LastPass or the one built into your web browser. Change your passwords at least twice a year. Also, practice the art of cyber lying and don't give truthful answers to those security questions you're asked when setting up online accounts.
6. Keep Your Mobile Number Secret. Just like you didn't give out your landline phone number to anyone who asked, use that same practice with your mobile number. The more people and apps that have access to your mobile number puts your devices more at risk to SMS text scams that can give criminals access to your mobile devices.
The above steps can help you safeguard your personal and sensitive data from criminals. When you have protective measures in place, it makes it less likely that thieves will be able to steal your identity, delve into your personal life, steal your money, control your computers and devices, and make your digital life miserable.
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