There is no way to completely eliminate the risk of being hacked. Just as when you get on the road in your car, you take the chance of being involved in a vehicle accident, when you jump onto the information super highway you accept the danger that malicious forces may hijack your personal information. Unity One is all about keeping the you safe, so we put together a list of practical steps you can take to make yourself as secure as possible in an unpredictable world.
- Don't use the same passwords.
Each password you use for an account should be unique to that account. Otherwise, you are making it easy for a hacker to take over all your accounts by only decoding one password. Your email is the one you should keep most secure at all costs—it's the command center of your online life. If you forget the password to an account or site, you may be able to get a change-password link emailed to you. So imagine a hacker has already broken into your email, that person could then reset your password and take over your account. And of course the same goes for security questions, switch them up.
- Keep your system updated.
It's well known that programs like Acrobat PDF reader, Microsoft and Java are heavily abused by hackers. Stay current on updates, patches and new releases since they often contain upgrades that close openings hackers use. Keeping these programs up to date is a smart way to secure against vulnerabilities. Also, uninstall software you no longer use. The less old programs you have running, the fewer opportunities for hackers.
- Stay away from unsecured sites.
Web addresses that begin with "http" use the basic Hypertext Transfer Protocol. But "https" means a site is secure; in fact, the "s" on the end stands for "secure". Identifying the "https" is a simple way to authenticate the website and the Web server you're communicating with. If a site is not secure, it's best to bypass it and go to a secure one.
- Download Software and Apps from official sources you trust.
Be wary of purchasing or downloading free apps that are on a site you don't know and trust. Hackers create apps too, and if you don't know the source, you can't be sure it's safe. The same goes for software. Countless sites offer free downloads of all types of software, but free can end up costing you big time. Pirated software is also often loaded with viruses, malware, and worse. For best protection, stick to the official app stores and only download software that comes from a trusted, certified source.
- Be careful when using Wi-Fi Spots
It is crucial to realize Wi-Fi networks are incredibly unsecure. It takes zero hacking skills to monitor and/or hijack communications over a public Wi-Fi network. And you would never even know it was happening. Anyone can get ahold of freeware that makes eavesdropping on emails and web browsing as simple as pressing a button; so that free Wi-Fi hotspot in the coffee shop, library or hotel is never going to be very secure. Sure, everyone likes them, they are free and convenient, a tempting combination, but the fact they are so popular makes them attractive targets for hackers.
When you find yourself in a situation where you have to use public Wi-Fi, take a moment to verify the name of the network you're supposed to be logging onto. One common trick among cybercriminals is to set up hotspot with a similar name to a legitimate Wi-Fi network and then capture the data of all those who log on. The user will have no idea, the Wi-Fi will work just like normal, but hacker will be collecting all of the communication (account logins, emails, purchases, payment info, etc.) in real-time. Stuck at the airport and have to use the public Wi-Fi? Then at least avoid doing tasks that leave you vulnerable to cybercrimes, such as online banking or purchasing products off Amazon.
With 12.6 million victims of identity theft in the past year alone, odds are you know someone who has been a victim, or maybe it has happened to you. We have all heard of the celebrities who have fallen victim to hackers, as well as the consumers of trusted corporations like Target, Home Depot and Sony. The best defense against being hacked is to be mindful of your online activity, think about things like: the sites you visit, the software you download, the email attachments you open, the internet links you click, and the unsecure networks you log onto. To put it succinctly, be cautious and protect yourself the best you can. The more steps you take to protect yourself online the more peace of mind you will have. Unity One wishes you safe surfing!