Have you ever gotten a strange message on Facebook from someone you haven’t seen or spoken to in years? You’ve probably had a friend post a status update apologizing or asking you to follow their new account because hackers attacked their account. If you haven’t encountered a post like this, you probably will soon. According to a 2017 study by the Clark School at the University of Maryland, a hacker attack, on a computer, occurs, on average, every 39 seconds.
Here are some tips to assure you aren’t the next attack:
- Be cautious of public Wi-Fi- Public Wi-Fi is not secure! We all use, or have used, public Wi-Fi. Some of us may even use it daily. We aren’t saying to not go to your favorite coffee shop and do work or that you can’t scroll through Instagram while you sit at your gate at the airport. Those tasks are inevitable. What we are saying is that when connected to these public networks, be selective about the activities you complete. Avoid things such as checking your bank app or making purchases that involve inputting personal information.
- Don’t just use passwords, get creative with them- Many of us are guilty of using the same two or three passwords for everything. As tricky as this habit is to break, try and make your passwords unique and unique by making them a minimum of eight characters and incorporating a variety of numbers, special characters, and upper- and lower-case letters.
- Turn on device locking-Most phones have a feature that locks the device after a certain number of failed log-in attempts. You can never take too many precautionary measures. Every barrier you can create between you and hackers is valuable.
- Pay attention to the subject lines- Our email inboxes get flooded with great deals and coupons every day, but the truth of the matter is Apple doesn’t just give away free iPads every day. Don’t immediately tap into your flow of emails. Read each subject line, and if your gut is telling you it looks a little strange, delete it. See a suspicious mail from a friend or relative? Text or call them to see if they have sent something to you.
- Don’t rely on apps for everything-What makes apps so great is that they make everything incredibly convenient. They remember things for you, so your checkout process is more straightforward. Some track your location so they can help you find your favorite restaurant when in a new place. Though that is all very kind and helpful, sometimes, you must put in the work. The more information you keep saved, the more information that is at risk of being stolen if your account was to get hacked. So, turn off your GPS until you really need it and manually type in your credit card information next time you place an Amazon Prime order on-the-go.
The range of smart devices available has expanded beyond just phones and tablets. The rise of smart home products, such as televisions and refrigerators, creates more opportunities for hackers to attack and obtain your personal information.
Contact an Avery Hall professional if you are curious to learn more about actions you can take to protect your identity from hackers. Or, if you are a business owner, explore the benefits of Cyber Liability Insurance.