New York Online Guide: How to Stay Safe

Once you go online and make an account on any platform, by default, you’re being exposed to various threats, especially hacking attacks. If your account is being hacked when online, the hacker would gain access to your email, cloud storage, social network, browsing history, and even your financial records. Cybercriminals would use them for their advantages and leave you with losses of money, privacy, or reputation. Fortunately, there are steps you can take right now to avoid hacking attacks.

Implement Two-Factor Authentication

Hackers are targeting your password to gain access to your email, financial, and social media accounts. Despite setting up a strong password, you need to implement a two-factor authentication. This is a security procedure where you need to confirm the entered password with a shortcode sent to another device (typically phone) in the text or voice format. With this two-step authentication, hackers won’t be able to access your account, even if they have the correct password, as they won’t have the confirmation code sent to your device.

Beware of Links

Links coming from unknown emails, messages, or pages could be either malware or a phishing scam. Never open or direct-click such links, as they may infect your device with malware, spyware, or adware. Those unknown links may redirect you into fake sites that mimic the real sites, whether it’s an e-commerce or social media platform. There, you’d be required to enter your credentials, including an email address and a password, so they can steal them to gain access to your account. Links from unknown sources may also contain offers that are actually scams.

Be Investigative and Cautious with Emails

Email is the most basic online communication platform that everyone has today. Whether you want to create a social media, financial, or business account, you’d need a valid email for the registration. Therefore, email has become the main target of frauds, scams, and hacking attacks. You will need to be cautious and investigative of any email coming into your inbox. Always check the sender’s IP address and the details of where the email is coming from and use Google to verify its authenticity. You can use the “Show Original” feature to reveal the original source of each email.

Don’t Open Attachment Without Assurance

Beside links, you should also beware of attachments coming from unknown emails. They may contain virus files or malicious software that can infect your computer as soon as you download and/or open the file. Once it’s installed on your computer, it would gain access to the network as well as all the connected devices. The formats can be either in EXE, PDF, Word Document, or Zip files. As a rule of thumb, don’t open the attachment without first ensuring where the email comes from.

Manage Proper Passwords

Manage Proper Passwords

Whether it’s email or other online accounts, you should set a strong password. Generally speaking, your password should contain a combination of uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, gibberish, and punctuation, whenever allowed. Never use personal information as a base to set the passwords, including your date of birth, family names, phone number, addresses, etc. Always apply different passwords for accounts on different platforms. It’s also highly advisable to change your passwords on a regular basis, especially for vital accounts.

Keep a Secure Cloud Storage

Cloud storage offers various benefits including convenience and efficiency. However, it’s very important to manage your cloud storage properly. We all know the sharing feature of cloud storage, but we may have been reckless in setting it up. Whenever you share a folder or file in the cloud as public, this means that everyone can access it and view it. At this point, you need to carefully manage what you want to set as private and as public. In essence, make sure to comprehend how the cloud storage service you’re using works when it comes to file-sharing.

Stay Safe on a Public Wi-Fi Connection

Connecting to a public Wi-Fi is convenient and at times, even necessary. However, not all public Wi-Fi connections are safe and secure. Some of these connections are vulnerable to interceptions and attacks, despite the high speed they offer. It is recommended that you should avoid accessing your private accounts and information when connected to public Wi-Fi. If you have to access them, consider using a VPN or an encryption tool to protect your connection from being breached. Using mobile data may be costly, but it would be safer and more beneficial in the long-run.

Conduct Regular Updates

Updates on operating systems or applications usually come with security advancements. You can manage a scheduled update or simply turn on the auto-update setting. This would allow the security system to continue being updated with relevant protection against security threats that are found online. Besides, getting the latest updates can provide you with a better performance and user experience.

Use Trusted Sites Only

Whether you’re surfing or downloading materials online, always use trusted sites online. Whenever you want to install an application or open-source software to support your activity, you should navigate to trusted-verified sources. If you’re using Google, you should look for the green check that indicates the security status of the site. Unsecured sites expose you to various threats, including phishing, malware, and hacking attacks. A general tip to keep you protected is to download software or applications directly from the main company or developer sites.

Apply Encryption

When you’re accessing information, accounts, or files online, there are chances that these sites are intercepted. Although encryption doesn’t stop this access, it can help crawl your activities so the interceptors can’t view or infiltrate what you’re currently accessing. HTTPS is the common practice of encryption that has been embraced by most websites today. For a safe browsing experience, you can check the URL to ensure that you’re accessing the site through HTTPS. If you want to extend the encryption for files or emails, you can use encrypting tools available online.

Don’t be an Everyday Administrator

Logging in as an administrator provides you with functional privilege, especially when it comes to installing software or applications. However, it’s not advisable to keep logging in as an administrator every single day. This is because when you download compromised applications, hackers can gain full access to your computer, where they can take over. That’s why you should log in as a user instead, so that hackers can’t compromise your computer.

End Your Session

When you’re done with an activity on your computer, end your session properly. Log out of sites, whether it’s social media, business, email, or accounts on any other platforms. At least, you need to disconnect your device from the internet whenever you leave your computer or digital device dormant. Next, you’ll have to shut down your computer. These procedures ensure that you’re well-prepared for both online and offline threats.

Embrace Security Measures

Whether it’s a PC, laptop, or mobile device, you should install proper firewall and antivirus software on them for proper security measures. Most importantly, you must turn on the antivirus and keep it on whenever you are using your device. Doing so would give you comprehensive protection when browsing, downloading, or installing software and applications. Having a regular backup of your important data is also advisable. However, security tools do provide the protection you need to stay secure when it comes to suspicious emails, managing cloud storage, public Wi-Fi, and so forth.

Manage Social Media Security

Mobile users actively access social media, which can pose issues when it comes to privacy, personal data, and security. Always manage your privacy settings and turn on login alerts for any social media platform you’re using. If you’re using a desktop computer, you can simply log out after a session or as you leave the side. Manage information that goes out publicly properly. Also, manage your app permission on your social media platform to avoid data leaks and abuses from third parties.

Employ Protection for Mobile Devices

When it comes to smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices, proper protection should be employed. The main concern when it comes to mobile devices is to properly manage app permissions, especially for Android users. Many people want to be quick when installing an app, and they simply give all the permissions for whatever it wants to access. Avoid installing applications from unknown sources to avoid various threats. Also, apply an advanced lock on your phone including pin, gesture, fingerprint, or face recognition.

Employ Protection for Mobile Devices

By applying these 15 steps, you’ll significantly reduce the chances of being hacked when using your computer or mobile device, especially when online. If your device and account is hacked, you need to contact IT support Queens immediately for a proper solution. Get in touch with your bank or the platforms that host your accounts to verify your activity. It’s also advisable to warn your contact list that you’re under a hack attack. When it comes to a lost device, you may consider deleting all your data remotely, especially if you don’t employ proper locks.