Tech Tips – Staying Ahead the Hackers

We’re never too far from a high-profile story about hacking: Whether it’s mentioned in reference to celebrities’ compromised accounts; large-scale hacks like England’s NHS, or embarrassing corporate attacks like Sony’s one (which revealed confidential internal emails).
Everyday people have, of course, fallen victim to ransomware attacks, so how can you avoid it?
Sadly, while there’s no 100% guarantee that you won’t be hacked, there are steps you can take to make your online life safer. Here are a few…

Don’t Use Generic Passwords
By now you should know not to use the same password for every site and device. And you also shouldn’t use generic words like pet names or mother’s maiden names. So how do you pick a variety of passwords that are easy to remember?

We’d advise using mnemonics – sentences broken down into words and then include numbers and symbols. So for instance, if you visit a movie site’s message boards, go with ‘Talking about films is my jam,’ which turns into ‘Taf1mj200’. ‘I enjoy buying stuff online’ becomes ‘1ebsob365’ and so on.

Update your System and Security
Updates can be a nuisance, we agree: Your computer is unusable for a few minutes, sometimes updates take up too much space, and these update requests never come at the right time. But updates exist for a reason. This is what made PCs vulnerable to many modern cyber attacks.

Use Modern Operating Systems
Older operating systems (like Windows XP) are more vulnerable, as suppliers sometimes don’t supply updates for them. Your 10-year-old OS might be working perfectly well, but it probably won’t have effective security updates.

Don’t Pay Blackmailers
A common approach in ransomware is to email the victim claiming to have compromising information – be it bank details, private photos or company information. It’s worth remembering that these are often empty threats and that the hacker only has access to your email address. However, clicking on the link they send might indeed trigger a full malware attack. And paying any blackmailer (in the real world or the cyber one) is generally ill-advised as it encourages them to do it again.

If you think you’ve been hacked or are being blackmailed, don’t panic! Try to get help from an I.T. expert (or department if you’re at work) before taking any action.

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