With the advent of social media and digital investments among many others, cybercrime has become a growing issue that you really should be concerned about. According to statistics, a hacker attacks an individual’s phone or personal computer every 39 seconds. The stats are scary, and now many corporate bodies are spending billions on cybersecurity per year to protect their data from being leaked or hacked. Fortunately, with a few security tweaks here and there, you can keep them from infiltrating your computer and phone.
The first point of attack in your networked household is the router on the DSL, cable or fiber optic connection. In the meantime, hackers have already succeeded in reprogramming private routers in the US directly from the internet – in such a way that any page views on the Internet are always redirected to servers that are contaminated with malware. To make such attacks more difficult, you should secure access to your router with your own password. This is still the rule, especially in private households, and it makes it much more difficult for hackers to access the router. It is important to ensure that you have not used the password anywhere else on the network. If you want you can even write the new code down on the device for your family’s benefit, as cyber criminals cannot see it there.
Locking up WLAN
Many devices in the home – from smartphones to networked televisions to office laptops – are connected to the home router via WLAN. However, many people still operate their wireless networks openly, i.e. without activating password protection. This not only allows neighbours to use the online access. It also gives spies or data thieves access to all private or business data stored on devices connected to the WLAN. And sometimes, for example with poorly protected webcams, it even allows a view into the private living room.
It is therefore imperative that you assign a WLAN password that is as complex as possible for your home. You shouldn’t have used this anywhere else either, for example to access an online service. You can also write this password down on the wireless router as a reminder.
The Coronavirus crisis is also causing video conferences to boom. Some users have connected an external webcam via a USB connector, especially to older PCs that are suddenly being used for work. What many people don’t know is that these cameras can also be hacked. Many internet protection programs for the PC therefore allow access to the camera to be prevented by default. If you still want to Skype, Zoom or video conference in teams, you must then explicitly authorize the software to access it. If this function is missing in the protection software, try folding a business card and placing it in front of the lens to prevent unauthorized viewing into your home or office. And anyone who has installed a webcam in their living room to monitor their smart home, for example, should quickly check that access from the Internet is also protected by a strong password.
Install an antivirus
Viruses are the most common tools hackers use to corrupt your files and gain access to your computer. Knowing this, you need to install anti-malware protection as soon as possible if you haven’t done so already. Unfortunately, many people unknowingly infect their computers with viruses by clicking links or installing programs from the internet. There are many types of malware, including spyware, trojan horses, worms, and many more. Once the virus gets into your computer (depending on the type), it can create applications to monitor and copy keystrokes, replicate itself in your file system, bombard your computer or browser with ads, etc.
Anti-malware protection will block any viruses from getting into your computer while browsing on the internet or copying files from a friend. It would also scan your device periodically and ”kill” viruses that have made their way into your computer. Avoid borrowing storage devices like pen drives from untrusted sources, do not click links and ads on the internet unless you are 100% sure they are legit as a precaution against acquiring malware.
Update computers and software
Virus protection and firewalls for the PC make it more difficult for hackers to access private computers , but they do not entirely help against weaknesses in the software that is otherwise running on the computer. It is therefore essential not just to keep the protection programs up-to-date at all times. It is just as important to update both the computer’s operating system and all applications running on it at least once a week. To make things easier, try as much as possible to automate all your security updates, including other software programs.
In the most modern versions of the Windows and MacOS operating systems, these update routines are activated by default. Many other programs on the computers, however, often run in completely outdated versions for years. Also update this software regularly so that hackers cannot exploit hidden vulnerabilities that lie dormant in some old programs.
Many applications have the option to check for updates in the Help menus. In addition, free applications are available to check the installed software and update it with a click of the mouse.
Most users only notice how important it is to back up at least their personal data when their own computer has been hacked, encrypted by blackmailers or the hard drive has crashed at some point. So use your time wisely and create a backup of your data. External hard drives that can be plugged into the computer via USB, with capacities of one or two terabytes can also be ordered online. Good backup programs are also available online with pro versions that come at a cost and basic versions that are free. And when the backup is finished, disconnect the hard drive from the computer until the next backup! This prevents the backed up data from being encrypted if a hacker gets onto your computer.
Stay paranoid and suspect a virtual virus in every email and file attachment! And only open messages, attached documents or embedded links if you are really sure that they come from trustworthy senders and do not contain any malware.
There are many simple tips and tricks individuals and companies can use to protect their data like those listed above, but if you want a team of IT experts to watch over your operating systems and data, click here. In reality, there are a few hackers who know how to program code. They usually download and use codes written by other people to create a program with a virus to infect your computer. These corrupt programs are then sent through emails or suspicious links on the internet. Some programs they use can create a zombie computer, and once you fall victim to this type of hack, they can control your computer and use it to commit fraud or cyberbullying. However, the consequences can be very damaging and so you should take it very seriously.