Save your Valuable Data from Online Hackers and Phishers

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How Could You Keep Your Data Safe From Online Hackers and Phishers  ?

 

Did you ever wonder what might be the difference between hacking and phishing? Well, hacking is an extremely high tech attack which requires you to take certain precautions whereas phishing is a low tech attack requiring just a dose of common sense to thwart.

So what does the hacker do? Essentially, he or she gains unauthorized access to your computer once he or she knows the address of your computer (your IP Address). You can think of an experienced hacker same as you can think of an experienced hunter in the forest full of game of different sorts. Just like a hunter will spot and target an animal in the forest, hacker will target your computer once he locates you in the ‘internet forest’ of network computers.

How then could you protect yourself from hackers? The best method is to use or install a so called “firewall”. So what exactly is a firewall? Well, it is a piece of hardware or software or both designed to make your computer “invisible” on the Internet. How does a firewall work? In essence, it blocks the ports of entry to your computer.

Some other anti-hacking operations include making your passwords harder to hack (by including upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters as well as by increasing their length and complexity), changing your passwords regularly (and perhaps using password management services like Dashlane or PasswordBox to help you keep track of hard passwords), clearing your browser history, avoiding to use free Wi-Fi (unless really needed), using HTTPS (hyper-text transfer protocol secure) to add an extra layer of security and encryption while online as well as to authenticate websites, never opening unknown email attachments (which may contain viruses), trying not to use public computers (the more users the greater the likelihood of viral infection), using anti-virus protection and using thumb or flash drives carefully (as they can also spread viruses easily across computers and networks).

In addition, do not link accounts, keep sensitive data off the cloud and ignore alarmist webpages announcing that there are “critical errors” on your computer as these messages come from scammers.

How about phishers, you might ask? These are part of the latest identity theft scam using fake email messages. Therefore, phishers are like fishermen trying to use bait which reminds fish of its food, whatever it might be. Just like fish bait, these email scams are meant to look real to you. So what are these phishers ‘fishing’ for? They may want you to give up some sensitive personal information such as your credit card, bank or some other sensitive financial and personal information. Once they have it, they steal your identity and can potentially incur thousands of dollars’ worth of debt in your name. Hence, don’t take the bait.

So what could you do about phishing attacks? First, do not reply to any email asking for your personal information, no matter how legitimate it looks! If they include a telephone number for you to call, don’t.

Phishers also like to use scare tactics, threatening to disable an account or delay services until you update certain information. Don’t fall for it! Reading a commercial website’s privacy policy to check whether or not it will sell its mailing list to another company may help you reconsider whether or not you will want to sign up to the site thus stopping some of the spam you are receiving daily. You should also watch out for generic looking requests for information as fraudulent emails are often not personalized. What are some examples of generic looking requests? Some examples are phishing emails beginning with “Dear Sir/Madam” or coming from a bank with which you don’t even have an account.

Some other things you might want to do in order to prevent a phishing attack are never submitting confidential information via forms embedded within email messages or using links in an email to connect to a website of which authenticity you are not certain as well as maintaining effective software to combat phishing such as Webroot Internet Security (which automatically detects and blocks fake websites and authenticates major banking and shopping sites).

Darius Romanek

Mission Repair Centre Team 🙂

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