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Published On: Wed, Jun 22nd, 2016

Top Ways to Get Yourself Hacked

Almost every 6 months, half of the adults in the US experience one sort of hack or another. It might be as simple as a low-level hack of a social media page. In other cases, it’s serious, and involves compromised email accounts or banking logins. And unfortunately, just having a strong password isn’t enough to protect you. The truth is, some of the most common hacking types ensure that the hacker never even has to guess your password.

Today we’ll discuss the top ways to get hacked, and tell you the defensive computing tactics you can use to keep hackers at bay!

Watch Out for Malware

Malware is the most insidious and persistent threat to everyday computer users. Malware is really nothing more than a broad array of software, usually found on the internet, which hunts down new computers or websites to infect. Malware programs scrape usernames or passwords as you type them, and then transmit the information. Some will even open up proxies on your computer to allow a hacker full access to your computer, allowing them to give it commands.

The major defensive computing tactic used against malware is typically just using antivirus or anti-malware software… but newer malware programs often aren’t identified for days, weeks, or months. Increasingly, security experts are recommending to use other tactics in addition to antivirus, such as scanning all files or links before clicking. Another great tip? Update all your software as frequently as possible, from your browser to your operating system.

photo/ Gerd Altmann via pixabay

photo/ Gerd Altmann via pixabay

Public Computers and Public Networks

Public-access computing, whether it’s public computers or public wireless networks, are some of the most likely suspects if you’ve been hacked. Since public computers are often rarely maintained, most of them are running one variety of malware or another, which can scrape any information you enter. Public networks are little different. If a public access point doesn’t require an encryption, then anyone else on that network can see the information you’re transmitting. It’s not unheard of for hackers to set up sniffing programs on public access internet points to report back whatever information users of that network utilize. Logins, passwords… even what websites you visit.

The best defense here is simply not to use them! Avoid using public-access wifi or public computers. In most cases, this can be easily accomplished with a smartphone on a good network, and a local hotspot provider.

Hacking Over VoIP

VoIP calling services are actually quite easy to hack, and it’s not uncommon for international travelers or businesses to have their VoIP services hacked. Hackers can use targeted VoIP malware to infect your computer, and use it to do anything from making fraudulent calls from your VoIP number to redirect internet browser searches to activate microphones or webcams without user approval.

Protecting yourself usually involves using a security-oriented VoIP provider, whether it’s a major consumer-facing provider like Skype or a business-oriented wholesale VoIP origination company. Having two-factor authentications can reduce the likelihood that your VoIP credentials are used fraudulently, and work to keep any VoIP network separate from those used for other purposes. Doing so can help prevent hackers from doing major damage.

Phishing Scams

Phishing scams are scams in which hackers emulate legitimate websites, particularly login points, to gain access to logins and passwords. Usually hackers will emulate email logins or social media websites. Most users wind up on phishing websites by clicking fraudulent links, and enter in their login information none the wiser.

The best defensive computing technique is to always look at the url of any page you’re entering information on. Always be aware of what you’re logging into, and look for the HTTPS verified element of a url before trying to sign in. Most legitimate websites all utilize HTTPS protocols to keep hackers out!

Guest Author: Paul Smith

 

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- Outside contributors to the Dispatch are always welcome to offer their unique voices, contradictory opinions or presentation of information not included on the site.

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