In this post I would like to educate you on how I stay safe and how you can keep yourself safe and share tips to look out for so you don’t get caught up with the wrong guys.
I used to be a victim of hackers ( I say ‘used to’ because at the time, I didn’t know what I know now). One time, they hacked into my yahoo account and sent silly messages pretending to be me and they also sent links to my contacts to click and view (I am aware some of you if not all have experience this as well). These links can sometimes be embarrassing as they contain ‘not so good images’. Not only did they hack into my yahoo account, they also hacked into my Skype account to send links and my Facebook account to write a post. Luckily for me, I realized quickly and took necessary steps to prevent this from repeating itself.
There is a probability you are aware of what to do to remain safe online and there are obviously several ways of being safe but I would be sharing a few which I feel are not often mentioned when the issue of online security is brought up.
Number one tip for me, was to learn to avoid remembering my password or username on my personal computers or laptop when it pops up, especially when it is unattended. (I know it saves a lot of time when it comes to remembering passwords, nonetheless hackers might track down information when a person remain signed in). Presently, I make an effort not to remember my password and username on my laptop. It is strongly advisable you do not tick the option to prevent your credentials from being stored on the computer too.
Secondly, I cultivate the habit of logging out of sites that involve my signing in at all time. Also, I avoid signing in to unknown wifi spot when out or leaving my Bluetooth on when it is not in use. This is because, I don’t want to leave anything to chance. Most importantly, I am cautious of what sites I visit. I try avoiding sites without https:// as can be seen below
If the page is not secure/ or safe, I could always try finding the site by typing the https// before the URL in the location bar that way my information won’t be stolen by eavesdroppers and attackers. For instance, when trying to visit a website called ‘Stay Safe Online’, (for the purpose of this post I have used a dummy web page) rather than being tempted to put ‘staysafeonline’ in the URL, I make an effort by inserting ‘https:// staysafeonline’. Try and put this in practice – it would help a lot.
Additionally, something I find annoying which is another means by which hackers tend to strike is by sending out malicious web link while pretending to be an authentic site. This is known as ‘Phishing’ this means, the emails they send to a person looks genuine and they request for that person to reset their password. Unfortunately these emails are dangerous because they look real and when you click on the link it would give the attacker access to your personal information.
Also, I am very careful what link I accept and what I share with others as I do not want to cause others to be victims. Also I am weary when opening attached files or clicking on web link in emails.
Below is an email I got from a fake Amazon team asking me to change my password as it has been reset. Obviously I didn’t reset my password whatsoever, so I was tempted to click on the link provided and change the password. This is often our first impulse when we receive such emails. Luckily I suspected the link and didn’t sign in. Then I asked a friend of mine who also confirmed the email was fake.
Lastly, hackers pretend to be authentic by altering URL addresses with the aim of causing confusion and if you fall for it would infect your computer with virus or spyware. For example, what hackers do to deceive people is rather than put ‘Citybank.com’ in the url, the attacker uses ‘citibank.com’. (As you can see, the difference in both sites is a letter ‘I’). This method of attack is called ‘Spoofing (Masquerade attack)’. As I always suggest, be on guard always when you receive a link from what you believe to be a well-known source.
This brings me to my conclusion. You might be wondering ‘what is the big deal with securing my device?’. One out of many which I believe is what most of us are always concerned about is the issue of ‘Identity Theft’. This occurs when forms of identity are obtained in ones name and if this happens, the hackers might use your personal details to set up a bank account or obtain credit cards, loans and benefits in your name. So you want to be very mindful of people manipulating your details.
I hope my experience and how I try to stay safe has shed light and help you understand why it is important to keep yourself safe online.
Please feel free to make contributions or suggestions. Let us educate ourselves and reduce the number of people that get hacked.
Till I write to you again, stay safe and educate others to do same.