Hackers attack every 39 seconds, on average 2,244 times a day (University of Maryland). An astonishing amount, and even more chilling since, as adjusters, we utilize our tablets as a key part of our job. Keeping your personal or work-related devices safe from attackers is important, but not as complicated as you might think. The most effective safeguard against attackers is vigilance on the part of the user. Here are a few tips to help you keep your personal and professional data out of the hands of a malicious third party:
- Avoid malicious ads: Many search engines such as Google and Bing will display targeted ads that look like search results at the top of the page. You might search for Facebook or Twitter but accidentally click on a malicious ad that redirects you to a website designed to steal your information (phishing) or trick you into downloading malicious software. The best policy is to avoid ads altogether and always double-check the item you are clicking on to ensure that it is legitimate.
- Avoid malicious links in your email: In 2013, 3 billion Yahoo accounts were hacked in one of the biggest breaches of all time (New York Times). It’s easy to forget that emails are an effective method of attack. Hyperlinks or buttons in an email are just redirects that take you to a web page in your browser. Attackers can send you a link that says, ‘RingCentral Web Portal’ but the actual URL is ‘1234attackpage.ru’. To ensure that you don’t fall victim to one of these attacks always double-check the link you are sent. You can hover over the link or button with your mouse to reveal the true URL or you can copy the hyperlink and paste it in a note to show the full address.
- Update your devices and applications: Device and application developers continually update their products to make improvements and patch security vulnerabilities. Keeping your computer or tablet and the applications you use up to date helps you stay ahead of the malicious entities that work to find exploits or backdoors in order to steal your data. Updating your software also keeps your device running at maximum efficiency because outdated applications and operating systems can clash with the newer versions of the services they use.
- Create strong passwords: Using a variety of strong passwords for your multiple online accounts reduces the likelihood of all of your accounts being hacked simultaneously. A strong password is one that is at least 12 characters long, includes numbers, letters, special characters, and is not predictable (such as “password123”). We also recommend changing your passwords frequently.
- Use multifactor authentication on your accounts: As an example, when you enter your password for your email account, you may be directed to a page that asks for a four-digit code. Your email provider will then send you a text message with a unique code to access your account. This means that hackers who obtained your password still can’t access your account unless they also have access to that verification code. This adds another layer of protection against hackers.
These are just a few ways to protect yourself against hackers. Keeping these tips in mind and remaining aware of the dangers of online computing can save you a lot of headaches and prevent you from being a victim of cybercrime.