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How to Ruin a Hacker’s Day

Cybercriminals don’t care about you, so why should you care about them? If you really want to get under their skin, there is no better method than keeping yourself safe and not becoming the latest victim of a criminal underground that targets close to 1 billion people each year. Cyber crime can include everything from […]

Cybercriminals don’t care about you, so why should you care about them?

If you really want to get under their skin, there is no better method than keeping yourself safe and not becoming the latest victim of a criminal underground that targets close to 1 billion people each year.

Cyber crime can include everything from activities that cause serious financial harm like a ransomware attack, credit card fraud, or online scams to personal information breaches or password compromises. Personal devices remain vulnerable to a number of growing virus infections and other security threats. Phishing continues to target emails.

Needless to say, the problem of cybercrime does not appear to be going away anytime soon. However, there are measures you can take in your own daily life to feel better and ruin a cybercriminal’s day. Here’s how…

Update Your System ASAP

It doesn’t matter if it’s your applications, antivirus software, or operating system – updates are provided by developers for a reason. It is one of the most important solutions to keep you and your devices safe.

Developers are constantly adding solutions to security defects that were recently discovered by the internal team or other users. It quickly addresses any flaws, and gives you a quick method to update the systems to maximum working order.

Why make it easier for cybercriminals to get access to your computer regarding known vulnerabilities, when all it takes is a little time to install a new update?

Install Antivirus Software On All Devices

It wasn’t all that long ago that traditional PCs were the only devices that really needed antivirus software. Then, smartphones got very popular and people started embracing mobile devices like tablets to access the web, email, shop, and check bank accounts.

Consequently, all of your devices must have security software, but not just any type. Pirated software is unreliable and illegal. The legitimate sources may add up in cost, but that should be a small price to pay compared to getting personal information or computers compromised.

Security solutions are more than just antivirus software. They also include Firewalls, one-click password managers, and other privacy-protecting tools.

Change Your Passwords Frequently

It may seem like a chore because it is. Changing your passwords frequently takes a little extra time and effort but it is well worth it. Your password is a digital key to your world. When it gets stolen, you have just handed a criminal access to steal your identity and exploit you.

Your passwords should be what is defined as “strong” (12-20 characters, upper and lower case letters, numbers, symbols, etc), changed every couple months, and never repeated for multiple accounts.

Some experts claim these steps are the three pillars to keeping your digital identity secure. Others recommend a fourth pillar which is known as two-factor authentication. The additional layer of security prevents criminals from doing much damage even if they manage to get a hold of your password.

Limit Social Media Exposure

Thankfully, we have come a long ways in how we deal with private information that is shared through social media. Most people know better than to make their personal profiles available to the public, yet there is still far too much sensitive information shared through these accounts.

Social media providers could arguably be doing more to help with privacy, but at least they have settings now that can limit what information is shared with who. It’s a major step forward, but still not enough.

It is a really good idea to not “friend” everyone and connect with strangers that you don’t recognize. Cyber crime is notorious for creating fraudulent accounts primarily for this purpose.

Monitor Bank Account Activity

While not everyone is a big fan of keeping constant tabs on their bank statements and account information, it will be to your advantage to monitor it often, even daily if you would like. When personal information gets compromised, cybercriminals are not going to waste time waiting to withdraw funds from an account.

Therefore, you need to monitor online accounts regularly in order to report any unknown transactions immediately. Financial institutions are also starting to do their part by often providing monitoring services free of charge.

Backup Everything

Computer backups are provided for a specific purpose. They ensure that important files are not lost forever and that they’re kept in a safe place, out of the hands of criminals. You should not only backup everything, but add them to an external drive as well.

When the drive is constantly connected it can become infected with any kind of ransomware, so encryption is a must – even if stored in the cloud.

Backups allow you to keep your original files in a safe place while you restore a computer or mobile device that has become infected.

Report Cyber Crime

Think about it: If you watched someone walk down the street and attempt to steal an old lady’s purse you would probably help her report the crime immediately to the police, right? Why is cyber crime any different?

You should report any scandalous activity to the proper authorities immediately. The threat of phishing, for example, can be vastly reduced if users report the scam attack as soon as possible.

In order to correctly report cyber crime, notify the browser you were using that attempted to bring you to a phishing site, or other type of cyber crime, and also report the activity to your antivirus provider. You may also want to contact the company the scam is attempting to replicate in order to notify their customers about the fraud too.

The Bottom Line

Cybercriminals want to play the role of the bully yet you can shove it right back in their face. When you ruin a cybercriminal’s day, you not only improve your own well-being, but the livelihood of countless others.

You can’t control everyone on the web, but you can do your part and report malicious activities as soon as possible to notify the proper channels.

Follow these simple tips to improve your online security. It creates obstacles (which therefore makes it harder for cybercriminals to do their job), and will ultimately lead to fewer web attacks.

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