How Do I Prevent My Computer From Being Hacked

Hackers exist online and it is important to take preventative measures against them. Computers and the internet is a tool but it is important to take responsibility for how to navigate through them safely. This is why I regularly look through preventative measures against hackers and any other malicious attacks from online.

How do you prevent your computer from being hacked? Install, update and configure security software, constantly keep your OS and accompanying software up to date, use strong secure passwords along with 2 Factor Authentication (2FA), watch out for phishing emails, stay off of unsecured Wi-Fi if possible and make sure your the Wi-Fi on your router is password encrypted.

Hackers exist all over the place which is why it is important to learn about safety protocols against them. The time it takes to learn about these precautions is much less than the time having to deal with calling your bank to cancel credit/debit cards or recovering loss data. There are many actions you can take to prevent an unfortunate situation.

Preventative Tactics to Combat Hackers

Install anti-malware software to protect your computer. Malware is malicious software such as trojans, viruses, spyware worms, adware, and ransomware. This list of malicious software can slow down or crash your computer, destroy your data, monitor your online activity while collecting personal information and other harmful actions.

Make sure to get anti-malware software from credible sites. Whenever the developers release an update, you should always update this software as soon as possible.

Make sure to keep all the software on your device updated. I know how easy it is to hit that “update later”, especially when it requires you to restart your computer, but it is definitely worth it. Software updates typically include security updates as well which decreases the chances of hackers finding vulnerabilities.

Use a firewall on your computer. Firewalls come with configured with some computers but some do not have it. Make sure to install a firewall for your computer. It will prevent unwanted external network traffic from communicating with your computer.

Create strong passwords at all times. Hackers have programs that can guess many passwords at a time until they find a match. Luckily, it is becoming more common for websites to temporarily block login attempts after about 10 or so. Do not rely on this though, because this only delays the inevitable of your accounts being hacked if you have a weak password.

Browsers like Google Chrome can auto generate strong passwords and save them as well. I would recommend using a password manager like LastPass or 1Password. These apps can be downloaded on your computer and your mobile devices. They also create strong passwords.

Changing your password periodically, like every few months or sooner if you can, can also reduce the odds of someone figuring out your password. Using a password manager makes this easier.

Always use 2 Factor Authentication with your passwords when offered. 2-FA is an extra step to take at login. Many companies offer 2-FA and you should take the extra time to set it for an extra layer of protection

Be careful when using an unsecured network such as public wifi. Your data is not secured on an unsecured network which is why you should not access any of your bank information on this network. Do not make purchases on this type of network because your data can be vulnerable.

I understand that there are times where public wifi is your only option which is why there is still precautions you can still take. I would suggest getting a virtual private network (VPN) to help secure your data on a public network to help secure your data. A VPN will encrypt your data that you send and receive over a public network.

Watch out for phishing links online and within your emails. If you get an email that looks unusual and tries to get you to click on a link, always hover over the link first to see if it looks suspicious. A trick I also use for suspicious emails is to google the subject line because others will report them on an online forum.

Signs that You Have Already Been Hacked

Watch out for random pop ups on websites that usually do not have pop ups. If you typically browse trusted websites and suddenly see pops ups on them that are usually not there then this can be a sign that your computer has been compromised.

If malicious software infects your computer, it is possible that it can disable your anti-malware software and begin installing more malicious software. Keep an eye out for unusual downloads and be careful of online third party software.

Not being able to log in with your log in credentials can be a sign your accounts have been stolen. Make sure to recover your accounts as soon as possible and change the passwords before any further damage is done.

If your computer starts to run slower than usual then it can be a sign that one or more malicious pieces of software is being run in the background. Check your activity manager or task manager to check what programs are currently running. This will show what programs are running and how much memory they are using.

A mouse pointer moving without your control is a sign that someone has access to your computer remotely.

Crashing applications can be a sign that your computer is compromised. If you notice that your anti-malware software and your activity monitor/task monitor keep crashing then this can be a sign that a hacker has access to your computer and are trying to prevent you from stopping them.

Watch out for new toolbars on your browser that you did not add yourself. They can be the cause of you being sent to unfamiliar websites that can lead to more problems.

What To Do If Your Computer Has Already Been Breached

Use anti-malware software to find and remove the malicious software from your computer. You want to change your passwords as soon as possible, but you also want to make sure the hacker has not installed a key logger that can just track the new password you typed in.

Change your compromised passwords as soon as possible. Make sure to use different passwords to prevent your one hacked password affecting your other accounts.

The hacker may be communicating with your computer over a network like the internet which is why you should immediately get off your current network and turn off the Wi-Fi on your computer. If you can turn off the wifi through the hardware over the software on your computer that would be even better. Some hackers can make it appear that your wi-fi connection is already off already. Consult your computer’s documentation for this.

The next steps to take is to back up your computers hard drive and have the old drive wiped and scanned for malware. Next, reinstall your operating system. I recommend bringing your computer to an IT professional at this point for this process. A hacked computer is not something to take lightly, because of the important information we keep on our computers.

Related Questions

How to block hackers from your phone? Safety measures to take to prevent your phone from being hacked include staying off unsecured wifi, protecting your pin and credit card information, regularly deleting your cache, cookies and browsing history, and installing a security app on your phone.

Can a phone be hacked remotely? A phone could be hacked remotely. The hacker may use malware or trojans to take control of the phone without the user of the cell phone noticing at all. This can also happen if the cell phone user does not take security safety measures beforehand.

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