Six simple steps to avoid being hacked

With the increasing number of hacks affecting individuals and organisations, we have come up with our six top tips on how to avoid being a victim of a hack. 

Suspicious of emails
Many cyber attacks are founded through email campaigns containing malware or spyware. Phishing utilises emails to get victims to update personal information on fake websites. If you receive emails such as these, check that their email address matches with the website that they claim to be from. You can also check the IP address of the sender by locating this in the source information from the email. This will appear is “Received from” and you can use this to find the email’s source. 

Passwords
This may sound obvious and somewhat condescending, but password strength is one of the most effective ways of avoiding becoming a victim to a hack. Including uppercase, lower case, punctuation and numbers are some of the easiest ways to make your password stronger, and don’t use the same password for multiple accounts.

Two factor authentication
Passwords being leaked has become an ever increasing occurrence as larger organisations are becoming victims of hacks more frequently. Once passwords have been obtained by hackers they will use these to understand which accounts they are able to access with this information. Using two factor authentication is an effective way of stopping potential hacks who have stolen passwords, and more organisations are making this a standard procedure in login processes.

Check link locations
Always be aware of links to unknown websites. Some links can take you to a site that imitates one that you may know and could lead to potential malware infections or phishing scams. Sites are now ranked by Google whether they are on HTTP or HTTPS, if they are on HTTPS then they are secure and you will see a lock icon in your browser. These sites are safer and have less risk of being harmful.

Opening attachments
Another email based hacking technique is the use of harmful attachments, which affects organisations most when employees download malicious software through email attachments that they infect the entire network. File types to be most wary of are PDF’s, Word documents and .EXEs. Always make sure you are 100% sure of where an attachment has come from before you open it.

Public Wifi
Public wifi spots are now pretty much everywhere, and the convenience does come at a potential risk. Public wifi is easy to access but you have no guarantee of how secure the connection is. Accessing private information while on public wifi isn’t recommended but if you need to use tools like VPNs (virtual private networks) that stop the network seeing where you are visiting.