About a year ago, during one of my college breaks, my three roommates and I were having a conversation through Facebook mail. To our surprise, we weren’t the only ones in our FB mail conversation. Someone had anonymously hacked into one of our accounts and intruded into our lives! Yes, the hacker even commented on our conversation. The nerve! This is the initial reason why I felt compelled to raise awareness about the fact that we need to all be aware of the serious issues we face as we interact through cyber space. Not only do computer hackers send annoying spam emails, and constant links to our Facebook and Twitter pages from your friends account, but they can also make your bank accounts go from $10,000 to $0 with just one click and even make you a victim of stolen identity!
How is it possible for hackers to get a hold of our information and gain instant access to our lives? Internet technicians have created what is now known as Spyware/Malware and is the biggest source of Internet hacking affecting our lives. This form of hacking includes sneakware, adware, keyloggers, browser hijackers, porn servers, Trojans and worms. Spyware/Malware are software programs that come from websites, pop ups and web style mails that install themselves on our computers, and invisibly lurk throughout the system sometimes even causing it to crash. The Spyware/Malware then secretly goes into your files, programs, and Internet accounts to gather personal information from your address books, browsers, bank accounts and other online log in information.
According to Black Enterprise.com every six seconds a computer is hacked, and only 1 out of every 10,000 Internet hacking crimes that gets reported leads to an arrest or conviction. Don’t be the next victim! Read the tips listed below to help you avoid being victimized by a malicious hacker.
1. Find out if your computer is safe. Past convicted hacker and founder of LI GATT Security International and Spoofem.com, Gregory D. Evans, suggests using AMIHackerProof.com to perform a free, thorough scan of your computer to see how accessible it is to hack into your system.
2. Have a 2 way firewall and or antispyware (virus) programs installed on your computer. About.com suggests using pestpatrol.com, Norton Antivirus and or Ad- Aware by Lavasoft. Aside from this make sure to continuously updating your software and your firewall/antispyware programs.
3. Choose your usernames wisely. In an interview with Black Enterprise.com, Gregory D. Evans suggests not using the same usernames and passwords for all your accounts because it makes it easier for hackers to get into all of your information at once. Using a combination of 7 or more letters, numbers and symbols (if acceptable) as a password make it harder for hackers to get into your accounts.
4. Beware of the sites you visit, emails you receive and people you befriend. Avoid visiting and downloading files from questionable websites and or opening emails and messages from senders you don’t recognize. Make sure you immediately delete any spam messages you receive and be cautious of any chat rooms you enter or people you befriend. Phishing has become a huge issue. If you come across any messages that are marked urgent requests for personal information or links to any web pages triple check to make sure it isn’t a scam. Checking the web addresses where you are being linked to is also a good way to see if the web pages you are visiting are authentic.
5. Check your accounts. Make sure you constantly check your personal accounts for any irregular activities. Finally, try to post as little personal information as possible online because that is an easy way for hackers to make you their next target.
Remember to always be extra careful when surfing through cyber space. If you have any stories or tips on internet hacking leave a comment!
Stay tuned for our new “TORCH Tip Thursdays” coming up this week!
The information for this posting was gathered from the following sources: About.com, Antiphising.org, Black Enterprise/Professional Hacker and Black Enterprise/Stop-Pop-Up-Pests-and-Spyware