The entry point for most hackers to access a device is pretty low. Let's look at some common reasons people get hacked, and some simple ways to prevent it.
A huge reason why people get hacked is they use passwords that are easy to guess.
Passwords should be lengthy – anywhere between 12 and 16 characters. A secure password should include numbers, symbols, and upper and lower-case characters.
Adjacent keyboard combinations or repetitive characters – passwords like “qwerty”, “123456”, or “AAAA” are not ideal.
When creating your logins, try the Sentence Method. Just think of a random sentence and transform it into a password.
For example, take the sentence “Woohoo! The Packers won the Super Bowl!” and create the password “WOO!TPwontSB”.
This password is at least 12 characters long, and even though it doesn’t have a number or symbol, it’s complex enough that it isn’t easy to guess.
Things Are Out-of-Date
Any computer can be hacked, even if you use strong passwords, because of a flaw in the operating system.
Windows, Mac, Android, and iPhone are all prone to vulnerabilities. These flaws allow hackers to install malicious apps or access files.
When companies like Windows or Apple find these flaws, they will release an update to fix them. Try to update your devices as often as you can.
For Windows, open the start menu, and click the Settings icon on the left. Click Update & Security.
On a Mac, Click the Apple icon, System Preferences, then click Software Update.
On Android, open Settings, System, and then click System update.
And for the iPhone users, go to Settings, General, then click Software Update.
If you’re concerned that updating may cause issues with the software, check the software’s website for any patch notes. Usually, they will tell you if updating is safe or not, or if they fixed certain bugs.
Another reason why people get hacked is they visit unsecured websites or fake sites with malicious intent.
When in doubt, check the lock! Check the website of the site you're on to see if it's protected. HTTPS is the most secure standard for websites.
Sites beginning with HTTP are bad for anything that requires a password - shopping, banking, checking email, etc.
Once you know the site is secure, check the full URL. The site may look real, but it could be fake. Fake websites usually come from phishing attempts.
With phishing attempts, scammers use emails or texts to impersonate people or organizations.
Always check the sender of an email. Phishing scams usually make the “from” name look like it has come from a legit company.
Also, check the sender’s address – a phishing email will be unlike what you’re used to seeing. It may be a combination of letters and numbers.
You can also pair multi-factor authentication with your passwords once they're secure.
Multi-factor authentication makes it harder for hackers to log in to accounts if they happen to get access to a username and password.
It may be easier for you to set up automatic updates on your devices. The updates will download on their own, and install at a time when you're not using your computer.
To guard yourself against unsecured sites, double-check all notifications. Don't click, use your own link. If you get an email that says your account is "compromised", log in to a separate tab and check for yourself.