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How to Stop a Hacker

Has my series on DEFCON 2015 terrified you with tales of how hackers can infiltrate your life in any number of ways—from your social media accounts to the government to your car? If you’re feeling helpless against hackers, here are some of the best ways to safeguard yourself and your technology.

By
Eric Escobar
4-minute read
Episode #187

Up Your Social Media Privacy

The next few tips you may not have thought about as contributing to your vulnerability to hackers.

Ninety-nine percent of the time when you get hacked, it’s because it was an easy opportunity. Very rarely are hacks done to individuals that are specifically targeted. However, targeted hacks do happen. For this reason, I recommend that you lock down the privacy settings on your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and any other social media accounts. If you allow the public to view these accounts you are opening up a ton of information to hackers. For example if I were trying to steal your password or guess it in some way, I might look at your favorite sports teams, your birthday, your spouse’s birthday, your favorite books and music—pretty much anything that you might use in your password.

Even if I couldn’t guess your password from that information, I still might be able to reset your password. You know how your bank and many other websites asks you security questions in case you get locked out of your account? Mother’s maiden name, street you grew up on, high school mascot, name of your first pet? Well, how hard do you think that information is to find on the internet? In most circumstances, I could easily find the answers to one or two of those questions in minutes. With those questions answered, a hacker could easily reset the password to your account and take it over. However, if you lock your social media accounts so that only friends can see that information you’re off to a way better start.

Backup Your Computer

You should also be frequently backing up all of your digital files. There’s been a large amount of ransomware out there lately that will get on to your computer and then hold all of your files hostage by putting a password on them. In order to get your files back, they ask that you pay them. Hackers would literally be holding your computer for ransom! How scary is that? However, if you have a full backup of your computer, you don’t need to worry about it. You just wipe your computer and then load from your last backup. You don’t have to worry about paying anyone, becoming a target of identity theft or any of that, just reset it and forget it. In case you’re looking for a good way to backup all of your files, I’ve done many episodes on this topic.

Sprinkles On Top

Now if you want to be super ultra secure here are some other nuggets of advice to follow. Keep your WiFi turned off when you don’t need it. Only connect to secure wireless networks that require a password, and do the same with Bluetooth. This will prevent hackers from wirelessly attacking your device.

Now as always, you can do all of this and still have something happen. However, with this type of security you will have thwarted 99.9% of all hacking attempts that come your way.

Well, that’s it for today! Be sure to check out all my earlier episodes at techtalker.quickanddirtytips.com. And if you have further questions about this podcast or want to make a suggestion for a future episode, post them on Facebook.com/QDTtechtalker.

Until next time, I’m the Tech Talker, keeping technology simple! 

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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About the Author

Eric Escobar

Tech Talker demystifies technology and cutting edge devices so that even the most tech illiterate can understand what's going on with their computer or gadget — and what to do when something goes wrong.