Phishing emails are one of the most common ways for hackers to steal your personal information. By sending you a message that looks like it’s from a credible source, they hope to fool you into giving them your password, credit card number, or other sensitive data. It can be sent from what looks like a legitimate email address, and often contains links to fake websites.
Also, you can receive it as a text message, so be careful when sharing your phone number.
Fortunately, there are several things you can do to protect yourself from these cyberattacks. Here are ten tips that will help keep you safe online.
1. Be suspicious of unsolicited emails and texts
If you receive an email or text out of the blue from someone you don’t know, be cautious. Don’t click on any links or attachments, and don’t reply to the message. Hackers use this technique to spread malware or steal your personal information that can be used in identity theft.
Even though you may know the sender, it’s best to err on the side of caution.
2. Don’t enter your personal information on a website unless you’re sure it’s safe
When you’re entering sensitive data on a website, make sure the address starts with “https” and there’s a lock icon next to it. This means the site is secure and your information will be encrypted. If you see the website’s URL starting with HTTP or no lock icon, do not enter any information on it. You probably never realized this, but HTTP stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol, which is the protocol used to transfer information on the internet, and HTTPS is the secure version of it.
3. Use strong passwords
We all know how hard and annoying it can be to come up with a new, strong password. But it’s worth the effort to make sure your accounts are secure. Avoid using easily guessed words like your name, address, or birthdate. Also, don’t use the same password for all your accounts. If a hacker gets ahold of one of your passwords, they’ll have access to all your accounts. That’s why it’s highly recommended that you use a password manager to keep track of all your login information. A strong password means that it is at least 8 characters long and includes a mix of upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and symbols.
4. Keep your software up to date
Hackers often exploit security vulnerabilities in outdated software. By keeping your software up to date, you’ll make it more difficult for them to get into your system. Many software programs have an automatic update feature, so you don’t have to remember to do it yourself, but just in case, set a reminder to check for updates at least once a month.
5. Use a VPN
A VPN, or virtual private network, encrypts your internet traffic and makes it harder for hackers to intercept your data. It could be a new term for you, but it’s a very useful tool, especially if you often use public Wi-Fi. Whenever you connect to the internet, make sure you’re using a VPN. You’re probably asking yourself why? Well, public Wi-Fi is not as secure as you might think. When you use a VPN, your traffic is routed through an encrypted tunnel, making it much harder for anyone to snoop on your activities. Imagine it like this-a VPN is like a tunnel that your traffic goes through, and someone trying to intercept your data is like a person standing outside the tunnel, trying to listen in. It’s much harder for them to do so when there’s a VPN involved.
6. Be careful what you click on
Hackers can sometimes embed malicious code in email attachments or links. If you’re not sure whether something is safe, don’t click on it. If you must, scan the file with antivirus software before opening it. The same goes for links-if you’re not sure where it’s taking you, don’t click on it. A good way to check is to hover over the link with your mouse and see where it’s taking you.
7. Don’t open attachments from unknown senders
If you receive an attachment from someone you don’t know, don’t open it. It could contain malware that would infect your computer. Malware – short for malicious software, is any software designed to harm your computer or steal your personal information.
The best solution would be to avoid downloading these attachments, but if you must, scan the file with antivirus software before opening it to ensure it’s safe.
8. Backup your data
If you have important files on your computer, make sure to back them up frequently. That way, if your system is ever compromised, you won’t lose everything. There are many ways to backup your data, such as using an external hard drive or cloud storage service. While your cloud storage provider may have security measures in place, it’s always a good idea to encrypt your files before uploading them, just to be on the safe side.
9. Use two-factor authentication
Two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security to your accounts. With this enabled, you’ll need to enter a code in addition to your password when logging in. Or it can also be a physical token that you have to insert into your computer. This makes it much harder for hackers to access your accounts, even if they do get ahold of your password.
10. Be careful what you post online
Hackers can sometimes find personal information by searching for it online. Be cautious about what you post on social media and other websites. Maybe you never thought that someone would be interested in your high school graduation photo, but a hacker could use that to find out your full name, date of birth, and other personal information. With this information, they could then access your accounts or even steal your identity.
By following these simple tips, you can make it much harder for hackers to get their hands on your personal information. Keep yourself safe and protect your data by following our cybersecurity tips above. Good luck!