It may seem so far, that everybody is out to get you and while it may not be everybody, quite a few are. It's not personal, its just business.
Hackers are constantly scanning the internet for vulnerable systems with the help little programs designed to look for a few common vulnerabilities, If they find yours has one, then its game on: the attack begins, with the bad news that its extremely difficult to resist a really determined hacker.
With this in mind, it's time to take a look at the steps that can be taken to defend yourself in order to force the hacker to pass on by to look at the next vulnerable online computer.
Passwords are the first line of defence against hackers, so it makes sense to make them as hard as possible to guess, not by people, but by brute force programs which can make millions of 'guesses'.
All that is required to defend yourself against this type of attack, is to follow a simple set of rules.
Using the same password for multiple accounts is sometimes called the 'eggshell defence'. The password may be difficult to hack but once broken will allow the hacker access to all accounts without any further work. 'Happy Days' for the hacker.
Adds an extra level of security by adding an extra step between entering a password and gaining full access to an account. This is based around 'two factors':
Logging in requires the first step, entering the password. After password has been checked as valid, the site sends a code - the second factor - to your phone which is then entered by you to gain full access to your account. The extra security come from the fact that the code is generated at the time of access and so can be predicted and the ownership of your phone.
Increasingly, free WiFi access to the internet is being offered in public places and transport services. A password isn't always required to connect to these wireless services. While very convenient for getting onto the internet, they provide an equally convenient way for hackers gain to access everything on your connected device. So try to avoid!
Embedding malicious code into internet links, addresses and attachments is one of the post popular and successful methods that hackers use. Called 'Phishing' the method relies upon creating addresses or attachments that look real, but when clicked on, triggers the release of a 'virus' the immediately infects the user's computer.
Some viruses trigger an email to all the people in the user's address book and will infect all their computers and so on. So if you receive an unexpected through email or from some not known, then its best not to click on it, but delete it as soon as possible.
There are also tempting adverts and headlines that crop up on websites. Called 'Click-bait' they encourage visitors to click them, which can start a download or divert users to other phishing sites.
HTTPS - 'hyper-text transfer protocol secure.' - is an extension of HTTP.
HTTP is used for Internet addresses. The S in HTTPS refers to an extra layer of security which encrypts data being passed between the internet site and the user's device. An additional benefit is that the information is authenticated and so HTTPS can tell whether or not a website is real, reducing the chance of a phishing attack.
Internet browsers on connected devices (phone, tablet, laptop etc) maintain a record of all sites that have been visited and what's been done online. Browsers are increasingly synchronise across devices, so that a website visited on one device, will also appear n the history of all other devices. The history log can persist for weeks. So that anyone who is successful of gaining access to any of your devices can get to see and steal a detailed record of a user's online activities.
Take care when disposing or selling hardware. Make sure that hard drives are completely erased to destroy all traces of personal information to frustrate those looking to obtain information from recycled hardware.
Stops hackers from exploiting vulnerabilities in outdated programs. Creating good software is difficult, creating invulnerable software is impossible, especially for when new programming languages, devices and methods emerge in the future. The best we can do is update software on a regular basis as these flaws are discovered and solutions are created for them.
Use these to help protect against malware. This includes all varieties of software, which hackers use to damage or compromise device security, for example: viruses, ransom-ware, spyware, adware, Trojans.
Any security software needs to be updated regularly to combat new versions of malware as they emerge.
Cloud storage can be very convenient. With suitable hardware, all data can be accessible by any device. Nice!
But data stored on the cloud doesn't belong to you and it isn't always encrypted at rest. So as a general rule, if the data is sensitive, don't store it in the cloud.
All users are vulnerable to attack. There are things though, that users can do to minmise the chance of successful attack.
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If you don't feel confident in meeting any of these performance criteria, ask your teacher or re-read the information again.