How to Secure Your Phone and Computer From Hackers

Undated file image of an individual with a hidden face working on a computer.
Undated file image of an individual with a hidden face working on a computer.

I bet we have all heard stories of people claiming that their social media accounts, or worse, their bank accounts and other personal accounts or information have been compromised by unknown and unwanted entities called hackers.

This raises the pertinent question of just who hackers are and how you can protect yourself from their criminal activities.

Hacking is the activity of identifying weaknesses in a computer system or a network to exploit the security to gain access to personal data or business data. An example of computer hacking can be using a password cracking algorithm to gain access to a computer system.

To keep these malicious agents at bay, you  can follow these tips to protect your computers and safeguard your sensitive data:

1. Use a Firewall

Devices running on Windows and Mac Operating Systems have inbuilt firewalls. Firewalls are designed to create a barrier between your information and the outside world hence preventing unauthorized access to your business network and they alert you to any intrusion attempts. Always make sure your firewall is on before you go online with your computer or gadgets. You can purchase firewalls from companies such as Cisco, Fortinet, or Sophos depending on your broadband router.

A man pictured while working on his personal computer.
A man pictured while working on his personal computer.

2. Install antivirus software

Computer viruses are everywhere; from the internet to secondary storage devices. Antiviruses detect and remove malicious programs whose main effect is to slow down computers and also to delete key files. They detect and remove real-time threats. Some examples of antivirus programs include; Bitdefender, Kaspersky, Avast, and Panda free antivirus.

3. Use complex passwords

More often than not, a secure password is one that is long and incorporates symbols and numbers. Use a password that has at least eight characters and a combination of numbers, uppercase and lowercase letters, and computer symbols. Hackers have an arsenal of tools to break short, easy passwords in minutes. Do not use recognizable passwords such as birthday dates or information that is easily connected to you.

4. Use two-factor authentication

Two-factor authentication is embedding a second layer of security mechanism that enables you to type in a numerical code received via your phone or mail in order to log into a site in addition to your password.

5. Ignore spam messages

Beware of email messages from unknown parties, and never click on the links or open attachments that accompany them. Inbox spam filters have gotten pretty good at catching the most conspicuous spam. But more sophisticated spoofing emails that mimic your friends, associates, and trusted businesses (like your bank) have become common, so keep your eyes open for anything that looks or sounds suspicious

Tips that could help you secure your Mobile phone include;

1.Turn off Bluetooth

When not using Bluetooth, keep it turned off. Keeping it on but dormant avails a backdoor for hackers to send malicious files such as trojan horses that mimic useful program files.

2. Install a security app

Just as you should install an antivirus on your computer, it is advisable that you install anti-virus on your mobile phone and tablets. Options to consider would be Avast, Kaspersky Mobile Antivirus, and Bitdefender.

3. Use a better password

Unlock codes like 0000 and 1234 are easy to remember, but they're also easy to guess. Instead, opt for a randomly generated, six-number passcode.

4. Switch off auto-complete

Autocomplete is the feature in your phone that allows phrases of words to be automatically completed for you while you are typing. While convenient, this feature could hand details such as your email address, phone number, and other information critical to hackers. Switch it off.

5. Clear your browsing history

Your mobile web browser keeps a browsing history just like your computer. Always clear it often including cookies and cached files in order to give hackers as little information as possible to work with if they do break into your phone.

6. Avoid public Wi-Fi

Public Wi-Fi such as in malls has very few security features, hence they are prime targets for hackers.

In case you want to study hacking conveniently, you can enroll in an ethical hacking course from a recognized institution. digital journalist John Mbati at work digital journalist John Mbati using a laptop at work on January 6, 2021.


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