Top 10 Ways to Prevent Being Hacked for FREE

Every day we all spend more and more time on-line.  The internet is part of our lifestyle. Understanding Cyber-security, helps prevent hackers from stealing your personal information.  It doesn’t have to be complex and you don’t have to be a computer geek to prevent hackers stealing your information.  I hope you enjoy reading. My Top 10 Ways to Prevent Being Hacked for FREE

 

Top 10 Ways to Prevent Being Hacked for free

 

 

# 1 – Wireless Routers

Number 1 on My Top 10 Ways to Prevent Being Hacked for free

Top 10 Ways to Prevent Being Hacked for free

 

We all have Wi/Fi at home, right?  How many people change their default password on their routers?

I done a quick head-count in my office.  Most of the replies where along the lines of,

“What password?” 

“Don’t my internet provider do that?”

Some ISP’s have addressed this issue and print a sticker on the router with a password on it.  But what is stopping one of your kids friends writing this down or sharing it?  There are a lot of routers that still use default names and passwords.

There are plenty of lists on the internet with this information freely available.

https://bestvpn.org/default-router-passwords/

I have tried and been successful in connecting to my neighbours Wi/Fi to try this out and it took me less than 5 minutes to complete.

If I was a hacker I could run some packet sniffing software and get those passwords that you store on your web-browser in no-time.

Changing the router password does not need to complex.

You simply open a  browser window using Chrome/Internet Explorer/Edge/Firefox.

In the address line type the following

http://192.168.1.1

or

http://192.168.0.1

This depends on the router.

Once you get to the login screen type in the username and password.  From there try to follow the instructions that where sent to you.  If you are not sure just search on Google for your router information.

In my case my ISP is Virgin which is a Hub.  I click on Admin and change password.  Make sure to change to a strong password.

Make sure to apply changes and you are done.

 

#2 – Phishing Emails

Number 2 on My Top 10 Ways to Prevent Being Hacked for free

We all get SPAM if you have an email address you get SPAM.  Some SPAM can be spotted a mile off.  It normally involves making money or erection tablets.  But nowadays email phishing and hacking techniques are more advanced.

If you use Hotmail or Gmail account or whatever email service you prefer.  They come with some form of spam or Junk filter.  BUT do not rely on them alone.

Here are some pictures of common phishing emails.

Here we have an email from the Apple Store – looks legit?  This is from my Hotmail account.

 

Top 10 Ways to Prevent Being Hacked for free

 

Do NOT click on the message – Lets check the preview.  Look at that address? Its bull SHIT!

 

Top 10 Ways to Prevent Being Hacked for free

 

Here is another favourite this time from PayPal saying I sent a payment.  I smell bull SHIT.  Check out that address the sent from shouldn’t that say paypal.com?

 

Here is another Apple Store special.  Wow I got a free iTunes Gift Card.  Bull SHIT alert!  apple-store.com – they must have spent some money getting that domain but its fake – DON’T BE FOOLED!

 

Checking you email on your iPhone is simple and in some cases better at picking up fake addresses. 

Another example .

Hey look at this I have a tax refund. 

 

Hmm whats that smell?  When I click on the email address line. Pretty sure that domain is fake! Bull SHIT alert!!

 

Another fake TAX example which is common.  Check out the “From” address

These are just a few examples. 

In the office we had a spate of emails from our bosses sending emails to themselves.  Quiet impressive! 

My rule of thumb is as follows.

A. Did I ask for this?

B. Is there an attachment?

c. Is it asking me to do something?

All of these things ring my Bull SHIT alarm.  If you have any doubts call the sender if you know them. 

Do NOT reply and Do NOT click on any attachments.

 

#3 – Updates

Number 3 on My Top 10 Ways to Prevent Being Hacked for free

Try to keep your software and apps up-to date.  Okay it’s time consuming and boring. But, rather this than some spotty teenager spending your hard-earned cash on bitcoin or porn.

If you have a Windows 10. I wrote a guide here Windows 10 Updates Guide.

Don’t ignore them notifications that appear on the task-bar at the bottom of your computer.  Java updates.  Office updates, Chrome Updates, iOS updates.

Remember, updates are not only improvements. They also patch security vulnerabilities that hackers exploit.

 

#4 – Two-Factor Security

Number 4 on My Top 10 Ways to Prevent Being Hacked for free

Number 3 on My Top 10 Ways to Prevent Being Hacked for free

If you find any app or web-site that offers 2-Factor security use it. Like all these things they can be complex and sometimes annoying but remember what it does. Protects your information.
 
Facebook call it Login verification.  Google and Microsoft offer it and so do Apple.
 
We protect our accounts with email addresses with passwords.  2-Factor security adds another layer of protection.  This means that if your password get compromised.  The hacker cannot access the account because of the ever-changing 2-factor code.
 
Google provide an app on your smart phone called Authenticator. -You have to enable this by providing your mobile number when registering.  You match the relevant codes and your done.  In Google’s case when I access my Gmail account. I enter my password and then using the code that changes every minute on the app.  I gain access.  BOOM.

#5 – Passwords and Notifications

Number 5 on My Top 10 Ways to Prevent Being Hacked for free

We all have them and all use them.  They are annoying when you need to change them. Remember that spotty teenager who emptied your bank account.  Passwords are a pain in the arse but they serve a purpose.
 
There are 2 school of thoughts with regards to safe passwords.  Complexity and length.  The average recommended size is at least 8 characters long.  Upper and lower case and special characters such as ! @ #
 
There’s malicious software available that can record keystrokes. This is why you need to be careful installing free software or that free copy of Office that you got from a ‘friend’. 
 
Other methods involve Brute Force attacks. In its basic form is guessing your password each character one at a time.
 
My advice would be to use a pass phrase. Something that consists of a sentence for length. Substitute letters for numbers and special characters. 
 
In my case I tend to use swear words such as…

ChangingPasswordspissesmeoff

or  better yet

Ch@ngingPa$$worDsp!$$esmeOFF! 

If you have the option to be notified when changing passwords make sure to use this.  This is useful for when people are guessing your password.  It sends a text or email to you when someone tries to change your password.  Most of the social networks and email platforms offer this feature. 

#6 – Biometric

Number 6 on My Top 10 Ways to Prevent Being Hacked for free

Top 10 Ways to Prevent Being Hacked for free

 

If your device offers the functionality of using fingerprint login or Facial recognition use it.  It adds another layer of protection. 

There has been some proof that fingerprint technology can be faked.  Although this involves using certain techniques.  But it can be done, so fingerprint technology is not 100% safe. Then again nothing is ever 100% secure.  

Biometric Technology adds another layer.  Which is why having notifications and complex passwords work well together.  They are time consuming and a pain in the butt.  Remember what they do.

Facial recognition has yet to be faked.  Unless you have an evil identical twin.  Or if you live in world of paranoia.  What is stopping the thief from chopping your hand or head off! Or more realistically shoving a knife against your chest and shoving your phone against your face?

 

#7 – Encryption

Number 7 on My Top 10 Ways to Prevent Being Hacked for free

Like a lot of things on this list.  These techniques have been around a long time.  Even before the internet was born.  Coded messages have been sent back and forth for centuries.  Technology makes it easier to do the same thing.

Windows 10 Pro and Enterprise comes with its own free built in encryption tool called BitLocker. There is a useful guide here

The basic steps are as follows.

You have the option to switch BitLocker on or off.  This can be used on your entire laptop hard drive or on external hard drives such as USB keys.  You assign a pass code to the device.  If someone manages to access you system without the relevant pass code.  They will not be able to read or access the data.

BitLocker has good and bad points.  It can be time-consuming when you have a large number of laptops,  There is an overhead for us IT people.  If we lose the passcode we lose the data.  On older machines it can run slow. 

I tend to use on the fly when I need to encrypt a USB key.

If you do not have BitLocker there are some other free and paid for alternatives,such as VeraCrypt

 

#8 Backup

Number 8 on My Top 10 Ways to Prevent Being Hacked for free

Back up your important data on a regular basis. This is probably the most basic and easiest way to prevent being hacked.

Its important to backup on more one device. Think about your laptop.  You can backup to a USB key.  An external hard drive.  If you have another spare even better. Take advantage of one-drive and save files on there.  Even Dropbox.  Try to get in the routine of backing up your data on a regular basis.

What is the advantage of backing up to an external hard drive? Let’s say we store your precious wedding and baby photographs.  You get a nasty virus on your laptop which corrupts your laptop.  You still have your trusty backup.

 

#9 Switch It Off

Number 9 on My Top 10 Ways to Prevent Being Hacked for free

If you are not using your laptop or desktop switch it off. Shut that bad boy down.  Not only are wasting electricity.  The system fan can fail and over heat.  You are also susceptible to being hacked. 

If you are using a public Wi/Fi such as in a hotel or a airport.  Once you finish switch the Wi/Fi off.  

#10 Facebook

Number 10 on My Top 10 Ways to Prevent Being Hacked for free

The largest social network.  Don’t rely on Facebook to keep your account secure.  I try not to store anything too personal on there other than my drunken escapades.  Like all social networks they can be hacked. All we can do is take steps to try and prevent being hacked.

Make sure your password is secure and complex.  Try to make it unique to Facebook and not use the same password elsewhere.  If you notice any strange behavior change your password straight away.

Make use of Facebook’s Security Settings. Click on the settings tab in top-right corner and review the Security Settings.

Top 10 Ways to Prevent Being Hacked for FREE

At the very least you should get email and Text Messages to alert you when someone tries to login from a different browser.  This is good practice.

They also offer 2-Factor Authentication as discussed earlier. 

Be careful with Friend requests and messages from strangers.  Try not to forward messages. Even from friends.  This is how a lot of viruses are spread on Facebook.  By people sharing and liking malicious posts.

 

Conclusion

 

I hope that this post has been helpful and helps prevent being hacked.  There is never 100% guarantee of safety on the internet all we can do is try to make it harder to be hacked.  Its something that we all need to be aware of and sure it can be boring and time consuming but like the old saying.

“Its better to be safe than sorry”

If you liked my post please be nice and drop a comment or share.  Peace and love.

 

 

 

 

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8 thoughts to “Top 10 Ways to Prevent Being Hacked for FREE”

  1. I am the worst at ignoring updates and love the suggestion about keeping separate passwords for social networks. I also am now thinking about the ungodly task of updating all passwords to a phrase like you showed. I never thought of doing this and always struggle to come up with a password but sentences and sayings. I have lots of those. Thanks for these great tips!

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  2. This has been on my mind lately, as I’ve been working with people that are helping me with my website, and that means allowing them access to my login information, and I’m wondering what other areas I’m making myself vulnerable to hacking. Thank you for the tips!

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