Steps to improve your online security and prevent hacking

Recently there has been a wave of ransomware and attacks online that have left many businesses and individuals compromised. Not only these attacks can cripple your computer and destroy your data but even more importantly, you could end up being the victim of identity theft. So here are some Steps to improve your online security and prevent hacking.

Improve online security

1. The first thing is to get everything on your computer up to date beginning with your operating system. If you are on a PC you are running windows and if you're on a MAC, you are running the Mac OS. If you are not sure you are running the newest version, a simple search on google, How do I find the version of my operating system will enable you to find that information quickly. If you are not in the newest version of your operating system, then you should get serious consideration to upgrading. For example if you are running windows XP or 7, you should stop what you are doing right now and upgrade as soon as possible. 

2. Make sure your antivirus software is up to date. A quick search on google will help you identify where to look to find the antivirus software information, if you don't have the software installed on your computer, you should definitely get consideration to this especially if you are running windows as your operating system. Make sure the browser that you are using to surf the web is also up to date using the newest version. Also be sure to update the settings like enabling the firewall on your computer and turn file sharing off. Also require a password to be entered before your device can be accessed. 

3. Encrypt the data on your computer 
    If you have a Mac computer, you have file balt installed already on your computer. Disk encryption will prevent the third party from accessing the content of the computer if it is stolen. The important thing to remember is that the password unlocks the data so don't forget your password. Put it in the password manager. For windows user BitLocker is a default encryption service. But now windows 10 home users won't have access to BitLocker without first upgrading the windows 10 pro but there are other methods to encrypt the data on your computer. By encrypting your data, you essentially lock it so that should your computer be compromised someone cannot use the sensitive information you have stored. 
4. Make a backup of your files in an off-site secure location if your computer is compromised and you have a situation like ransomware that locks up your computer and you have your data backed up and encrypted, you be able to get around this issue. The way this back up services work is that you pay a fee and then you backup your data to a off site cloud storage if anything happens to your computer you'll have an encrypted backup copy you can get access to. 

5. Create strong passwords. Using the same password  over and over results  problem. Once a site get hacked or your username and password is stored the hackers will then try to take that same information to access other sites like banks or your social media accounts to gain access to a sensitive information they could use it to exploit you further. The assumption is that you probably use the same username and password combination on these other sites. So here is the simple thing that you can do. Get a tool that enables you to keep tracks of all you password in one place. The beauty of these apps is that you only need to know only on password. When you enter your password into that app, it will populate the previous information you previously stored into the site you are trying to access. Also change your passwords every three months. Also one of the most important thing you can do is to use two factor authentication or identification on your account. 

6. Lock down your social media accounts. 
    When it comes to identity theft, Hackers can easily take the information you share online and then use it against you. The information you share over the social media sites can be very powerful when someone is going to steal your identity. 

7. Check your credit cards and bank accounts on a weekly basis if there's anything suspicious or odd contact your credit card company immediately. Also be sure to know what credit cards you carry in your wallet and the contact information for each. In the event you lose your wallet and need to call in and cancel them. When using ATM or credit cards readers in public, be sure to look for skimmer devices as these can easily pull your information off your card. Also limit the use of your debit cards to just your ATM. Be sure to upgrade your credit cards to your newest. 

8. Public Wireless internet connections. 
    When using a wireless internet connection in a public place like a coffee shop remember you're in a network shared by others and you can be compromised. Many people don't think about this when surfing on the internet in a hotel room,You are on the same wireless network connection with lot of other people and you need to be sure to turn off sharing in the settings in your device. Enable your firewall settings and visit sites that are encrypted. 

9. Do not share your social security information. It's often easy for individuals to start sharing their social security information when others ask for it when dealing with professionals or other businesses you may trust. Once you give that information on a public document or online, You are now trusting that company will keep that information secure. Are you 100% sure that they will keep it secure? Be very cautious to whom you give information. You technically don't have to share your social security information when visiting your doctor often time a billing staff. 

10. Avoid Phishing, Phishing is the fraudulent practice of sending emails that pretends to be from reputable company in order to gain personal information from you like passwords or credit card numbers. You may have receive those emails that have braining that is consistent with an institute or service you use. often time in these emails there is a link requesting you reset your password and when you click on the link it will take you to the site that looks just like the you need and upon entering your personal information, Now they can take that information to your bank's website and gain access to it. Whatever you do, don't give out your personal information over the  phone or email unless you initiated that contact. Check the site you're on to ensure that has https and lock icon in the address bar. 

so these are the top 10 Steps to improve your online security and prevent hacking.

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