(REUTERS/Kacper Pempel )
The cyber criminals are out in full force looking for ways to steal your data. It is worth the money to them. That is the reason why we see a huge increase in the number of data breaches of the past few years.
Unfortunately, most people do not know that they have been hacked until it is too late. So you don’t fall into that category, do one thing now. Click here to see if your e-mail address is hacked or stolen.
With cybercrime is so rampant, you must be pro-active about protecting yourself. To help you, here are some things I do to avoid hackers and scammers on the bay.
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How to avoid being tracked online
1. Keep everything updated
First and foremost, it is vital to install the updates as soon as you can, especially if they fix security bugs. Keep all your apps, smart devices and gadgets updated with the latest patches and firmware.
The FBI recently issued a warning to anyone who owns a router. You must restart the computer. I’m not convinced there is that enough to protect your files and network. You really should have a few extra steps. Click here for the instructions on my site.
If hackers can find an error in a program or operating system, they can actively use to attack computers until it is restored.
2. Protect your devices already
Surprisingly, at least a third of smartphone users do not bother to even the simplest of four-digit passcode to ensure the security of their gadgets. There are many ways to lock and unlock our phones, computers and tablets — face scans, fingerprints, irises, passwords, patterns, and more.
Just set it up. It’s a minor inconvenience that will save you a huge headache later.
3. Make sure that your firewall works
Even if hackers manage to know that your computer’s location and IP address, the firewall keeps track of them access to your system and your network. Not sure if you have a firewall? Newer Windows and Mac systems have built in software firewalls to configure your outgoing and incoming ports.
Wonder if your firewall is actually working? Click here for a free test.
4. Encrypt your drive
An additional layer of security that you can use is the encoding of the disc. With encryption of your data will be converted into unreadable code that can only be deciphered with a specific key or password.
PC users can use the Windows’ built-in encryption tool, BitLocker. BitLocker is available to anyone with a computer that is running Windows Vista or Windows 7 Ultimate, Windows Vista, or Windows 7 Enterprise, Windows 8.1 Pro, Windows 8.1 Enterprise, or Windows 10 Pro.
Macs have their own built-in disk encrypting tool called FileVault. Similar to BitLocker, it helps prevent unauthorized access to your data and adds an additional layer of security in case your computer is stolen or lost.
5. Do not rely on public Wi-Fi
Scammers use public Wi-Fi to spy on unsuspecting users who participate in the network. Or, sometimes they are even “honeypot” networks, which are fake networks that are designed to steal your information.
If you’re not careful, cyber criminals in your local café can walk away with your name, address, social security number, e-mail address, and your usernames and passwords.
This is the reason why it is very important that you have a virtual private network (VPN) as well as in the public. It is a good idea to use one at home, too. With a VPN, your gadget IP address is hidden from websites and services you visit, and you are able to browse anonymously.
6. Completely wipe old devices you get rid of
Just like a real garbage can, the contents of your PC Recycle bin or Mac Trash will only be erased when you empty. Using the same analogy, if it is already a while ago that you have emptied them, there is a treasure trove of documents and items for someone to snoop through.
Want you’re serious about your security, you need to erase sensitive data. The use of software tools, such as an Eraser or Blank and Secure for Windows and Safe Removal – File Shredder for Mac.
Favorite cross-platform tool free CCleaner for Pc’s and Macs also has an option for the safe removal of files.
Click here to learn how to delete data forever on your PC or Mac safe.
7. Remember strong, unique passwords
Your password is your first line of defense. You want to make sure that you use a secure, unique passwords for each account.
Click here for a simple trick to creating a robust and easy-to-remember password. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with passwords, or want to develop harder passwords, consider using a password manager.
A password manager is a program that allows you to save and manage your passwords for each app, service and the site you used. It is like a locked vault (or a vault) for all your references, tightly secured with your key.
8. Use of two-factor authentication
Two-factor authentication is a fancy name for adding an extra authentication step to the login process of your most critical accounts. Instead of only providing your username or password to log in to an account, a secondary form of authentication is required to prove your identity.
The most popular form of 2FA now is a unique one-time code texted to your smartphone. Not sure what it means? Click here to read more about the two-factor authentication.
9. Use the guest network option
Friends and family always want to make use of your Wi-Fi. They ask politely, phone in hand because they hate to burn up their data plan when they can make use of your connection. Instead of handing them your real password, use your router with the “Guest Network.”
With this feature you can share your internet connection with your guests while getting them out of your primary network, prevent them from seeing your shared files and services. To avoid confusion with your primary network, set up your guest network with a different network name (SSID) and the password.
Click here for more ways to keep strangers out of your Wi-Fi network and your files.
10. Choose the right type of account
When you first set up a computer, you create at least one user account. If multiple people are using a computer you can create an account for each one.
User accounts are vital because they separate the files, and sometimes programs. This is good for privacy and security, as long as each account has its own password.
However, what many people do not know is that there are multiple types of accounts you can create. The two most important are the “administrator” and “standard”.
You’ll want to check your accounts immediately and change administrator accounts to standard accounts. Click here for the step-by-step instructions. If you have a Mac, here are some guidelines for you.
What the digital lifestyle, if you have any questions? Call my radio show and click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to the Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet or computer. Of the buy of an opinion to the digital world problems, click here for my free podcasts.
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Learn about the latest technology on the Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and provides advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com.