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Hackers are always trying to figure out ways to gain access to our computers and other devices to get our personal information. That's why it's important for consumers to protect themselves against online hackers and scam artists.
The types of threats to our devices can be sorted into two categories: physical and social. Physical threats are malicious computer codes that attack your device. These threats are often called malware. Social threats, on the other hand, are codes that present themselves through social engineering, such as via email, a social media post, or even a phone call, and they can be done by anyone who knows the user's password and PIN. These threats are commonly called hacking.
Spyware is a type of malware that you should know about. One type of spyware is "adware" or "ad-supported software," such as unwanted pop-up ads. Here are some ways you can protect yourself and your devices from hackers:
Tip #1: Install the right anti-malware software
While anti-malware software can help protect your devices, Richard Roth, founder and chief executive officer of technology solutions firm Progressive Tech, warns: “Be cautious with 'single fix' utilities,” telling Yahoo Life: “There are many free utility or security apps promising to be able to fix anything and everything that might go wrong" and suggests being "cautious" of ones that make "lofty promises."
Instead, it’s important to stick to legacy brands, such as Malwarebytes, when it comes to cybersecurity. Malwarebytes anti-malware software is designed to detect and block malicious activities and help protect you from a variety of sophisticated cyberthreats, including malware, such as spyware and adware, viruses, online scams, phishing sites, and ransomware.
Tip #2: Be careful about installing new apps
It's natural to want to get new apps, especially when they're free, as consumers often feel like they have nothing to lose. It is possible, however, to open up a Pandora's box of security risks if you end up downloading a fraudulent app. Some steps you can take to ensure the app is authentic is to look up the publisher to make sure they're legitimate, read the app reviews, and be wary of shopping discount offers.
Tip #3: Log out more often
Some social media or shopping websites ask visitors if they would like to remain logged in for ease of use. This, however, can be risky, since it can result in a hacker gaining access to your personal data. Make sure to log out of any online services to prevent hackers from obtaining your personal information.
Tip #4: Think twice before using public wifi
Many people don't realize that open, public wifi networks pose serious security risks. In spite of the encryption on our phones and tablets, we frequently use open wireless networks that can be easily hacked and used for monitoring. According to Inc.com, "Hackers can also use an unsecured wifi connection to distribute malware."
TIp #5: Be mindful of Bluetooth hacking
Hackers can search for vulnerable Bluetooth-enabled mobile devices using special software products. These types of hacks happen when a hacker is within range of your phone, usually in a populated area. The hackers are able to access all the information available through the Bluetooth connection, as well as the internet connection to access the web, as long as the device is within range. Turn off your Bluetooth when not in use — especially in crowded areas.