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Your smartphone and tablet contain a wealth of information about you, albeit through conducting online searches, making e-payments, playing games, and connecting with those near and dear to you.
But, if not protected, hackers can infiltrate your device and steal your information for financial gain. Additionally, not taking the necessary precautions leaves your device at risk and susceptible to contracting malware or stopping it from functioning altogether.
Here are effective tips to safeguard your device from hackers and other fraudsters.
Use VPN on Unsecured Network
Don’t use a device that carries the bulk of your identity over an open and unsecured network. But, if you must, make sure to use a virtual private network, or VPN, a tool that alters your IP address to safeguard and protect your digital footprint. This way, hackers won’t be able to locate your device and see what you’re doing online. If you’re using a public computer, make sure it has an effective malware removal tool. Identify malicious websites and block them so that you don’t carry any malicious domains or contents and transfer them to your device.
Upgrade Your Software
Software upgrades come with the latest security patches that prevent vulnerabilities. Companies like Sitelock work 24/7 to identify the latest tricks hackers devise to cause harm. So, when upgrading their website malware removal tools, they consider those new advancements to guarantee users all-around protection.
If you’re using a PC, check the status of your anti-malware and anti-virus tools. If the security suites are outdated, run the upgrade manually. Then, schedule automatic updates so that your device has the latest security patches in real-time.
Keep Your Wi-Fi Firmware Up to Date
Hackers can manipulate your PC or cell phone via your home Wi-Fi connection through what’s called a man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack. Should this happen, they’ll be able to hack all devices connected to your Wi-Fi and channel their signals to a specific device under their control. That means, they can spy on your relatives, friends, and family and carry out more data breaches. However, by keeping your firmware up to date on your home network, you’ll better be able to prevent hackers from accessing any of your personal devices.
Don’t Reuse Passwords
Reusing your passwords on multiple websites and devices increases your vulnerability to data theft. It’s more like using one key for various doors in your house. If you lose it, all the rooms are vulnerable to infiltration. Have multiple passwords when accessing bank information, social media, and work accounts.
Hackers have tools that can figure out your password in minutes. That’s why your passwords should be strong and hard to guess. That means they shouldn’t be your birthday, pet’s name, or parents’ names. Most platforms suggest using a password that’s at least eight characters long and includes numbers, symbols, uppercase, and lowercase letters.
Additionally, make sure it’s password-protected. If you have devices that frequently connect to your Wi-Fi connection, don’t keep the same password for weeks; rather, keep changing it to make it less predictive.
No matter what you do, if you have an email account, you can expect spam in your inbox. While email providers are becoming increasingly savvy when it comes to filtering spam, you must take precautions regardless. Firstly, avoid opening emails from unknown and suspicious parties. More specifically, don’t make the mistake of opening any links or attachments. That being said, there are swindlers out there sending phishing emails that look like the real deal. An unfamiliar greeting in the email or spelling error in the email address is some signs indicating a phishing email.
Turn Off Bluetooth
There is no point in keeping your Bluetooth on if you’re not using it. This gives hackers another chance to invade your device. So turn it off. You should also turn off other features such as GPS, wireless connection, and geo-tracking when not in use.
Avoid Using Public Wi-Fi
Using a public password-free W-iFi may be tempting, but it’s better to avoid it. Such platforms can make you a prime target for hackers.
Download Trustworthy Apps
From buying groceries to guided meditation, you can find an app for nearly everything. However, it’s imperative to be careful about downloading apps from trusted sources. We also suggest looking out for certain signs of a risky app. Is the app asking for excessive permissions? For example, a unit converter app shouldn’t need access to your contacts, photos, location, and other information to function properly. Other than that, you should avoid apps with too many pop-up ads. Usually, pop-ups are annoying but at times they could be a trap set by hackers.
Always Back-Up Data
There is only so much you can do to protect your personal devices. At the end of the day, a hacker can always outsmart you. While you may be able to retrieve your personal information and other important data, it’s better to be on the safer side by backing up your data. Ideally, personal data should be backed up once a day, but you can get away with backing it weekly. There are several options when it comes to backing up data. External storage is a conventional choice, but cloud storage is quickly gaining popularity because of its easy accessibility.
Protect Data on Lost Device
Whether your personal device was lost or stolen, you should take proactive measures to prevent your personal information from falling into the wrong hands. In addition to setting up a lock screen and strong password, you should remove your lost device as a trusted device for multi-factor authentication. Keep an eye on your bank notifications and other sensitive information for any suspicious activity.
How to Prevent Hacking on Personal Devices at a Glance
Ultimately, none of these tips guarantee total protection against hacking. But if you employ some or all of them, you can make the odds of being attacked significantly slimmer. Plus, you’ll be able to surf the internet on your home network, connect with friends, and shop online with added peace of mind.
Thank you for reading!