How to Protect Yourself from Cybercriminals: 15 Simple Ways

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15 / 12 / 2017

How to Protect Yourself from Cybercriminals: 15 Simple Ways

No one cares about privacy breach till it happens to you. Each year over half of the US users have their personal data exposed to hackers. We’ve got you covered with a complete online security guide. Check out 15 simple tips to stop the fraud before it starts. Bad guys, beware.

Learn Basic Internet Safety Rules

  1. Think before you click.  In August 2017 there was a virus circulating on Facebook Messenger. Next time you scroll your endless feed, remember to like and share posts only from people you know personally and report things that look suspicious.

  2. Be careful what you send in an email. Hopefully, you know that emails from a long-lost relative who’s left you $100,000 are a scam. The same works with contests you’ve surprisingly won, or with an attorney asking to open the document attached. Never share your personal information if you can’t identify the sender.

  3. Recognize fake websites. Take a closer look at what’s between www and .com. Unreliable websites often display extra (or missing) letters, dashes in words, and numbers. For example, www.search-go0gle.com masquerades as the official Google’s website, which real address is  www.google.com.

  4. Choose websites with a secure connection. It keeps information you share private by encrypting it with a digital certificate. Look at the website address: if it starts with https, or there’s a small padlock icon in the address bar, your shopping or banking online is safe.

Don’t Take the Bait

  1. Walk away from too-good-to-be-true ads. “You won’t believe”, “Shocking”, “Start making $5000 a day”... Well, would you tell the secret how to make money fast if you knew it? Anyway, if you somehow clicked that pop-up, for God’s sake, don’t share anything about yourself.  

  2. Ignore critical error messages. There’s one thing to remember: Apple will never contact you in person to remove any threats. Don’t call the number, whatever scary the security alert seems.

  3. Spot fake update pop-ups. We’ve recently explained how to update Flash Player safely. Remember, the most reliable sources to search for updates are the Apple’s App Store and the official software vendor’s website.

Keep Your Money Safe

  1. Monitor your credit card statements. Do so at least once a month to track invoices for things you haven’t bought. And when any purchase stands out, contact your bank and investigate this issue as soon as possible.

  2. Use extra security steps. Both Visa and Mastercard offer extra verification step called Verified by Visa or Mastercard SecureCode respectively. It helps to authenticate every purchase online by entering a special passcode on the official bank’s webpage.

  3. Set up real-time alerts. Contact your bank to sign up for real-time notification service and set a purchase limit. This way you’ll be able to prevent cybercriminals from charging $350 without your consent.

Protect Your Private Data

  1. Choose a strong password. It’s a bad practice to use “123456” or your birth date. A strong password includes both numbers and uppercase letters. Be creative, L0uis1aNA is way more difficult to be hacked than Louisiana.

  2. Never share sensitive data. Your Social Security Number (SSN) is one of the greatest assets you have. If cybercriminals receive it, they’re free to create false identities and apply for credit accounts.

Warning: only a few institutions can lawfully request your SSN: insurance agencies, credit card companies, and credit reporting agencies like Equifax. You’ll also need to provide SSN when you purchase real estate or a car over $10,000. Never share your SSN except for the cases above.
  1. Avoid using public Wi-Fi. You might love using free Wi-Fi spots, but so do hackers. Whenever you browse in cafés or hotels, use a VPN service encryption.

  2. Update macOS regularly. Remember the latest macOS security flaw? Apple has acted fast and released a quick fix within 24 hours. Here’s a lesson: it’s more difficult for hackers to gain access to your system if you regularly update it.

  3. Use security software. Install an antivirus on your Mac and automatically block most of the online threats. Advanced antiviruses like MacKeeper can do that in several clicks. No hacker will pass and you’ll sleep like a baby again.

Keep an eye open and don’t give cybercriminals a chance. If you know other ways for a hack-proof Mac, or there’s anything we missed, share in comments – we can’t wait!