In this day and age, online shopping seems like a common activity. Making your purchases online appears to beat standing in line at the store, especially during the holiday season. On holidays like Black Friday, online shopping far outweighs the thought of trying to beat the rush of a deal-hunting crowd of hungry shoppers.
Of course, recent studies show that many internet shoppers are fast losing interest in e-commerce and other online shopping experiences. In fact, 49% of survey respondents stated that they have concerns about their privacy and lack trust in online shopping experiences. Fortunately, there are plenty of hacker-proof tips you can use to keep your information and identity safe.
Download and Update Security Software
Make sure you have some form of Internet security software. Security software can increase the safety of your sensitive data, such as information related to your identity. You can easily find plenty of affordable Internet security software options, such as:
- AVG Internet Security
If you are working on a limited budget, you may find that some security software will offer a free version or at least a free trial. Even if you have to pay a small fee, it is a worthwhile investment. Keep in mind that you must keep your software up-to-date. Software producers constantly update their list of malicious websites and content to protect your information.
You should, of course, download software to protect your computer from hackers, but make sure you protect your phone, too. A phone hacker has no issue trying to steal your information while you use your mobile device all the while unaware of what’s going on. Fortunately, there are plenty of Internet security software options for phones, too.
Types of Internet Security
There are different types of Internet security you can invest in. For instance, you may want to find something that offers a website scanner. Many hackers will clone a website, which tricks you into entering your personal information. A clone website looks just like the actual website where you want to shop, but it sends your personal information to the hacker.
A website scanner enables you to spot fake websites before you enter your personal information for an identity thief. The scanner detects the legitimacy of the website to determine if it is legitimate and safe for use. If the scanner detects anything out of the ordinary in the website’s coding, it will identify you and prompt you before you go any further.
Some website scanners may detect issues with a legitimate website. That is because the website’s security certifications may have expired or perhaps the website does not have any security protocols in place. You should avoid any websites flagged by your website scanner so you can avoid a potential hacking issue.
How to Prevent a Potential Hack
Many people want to know how to block a hacker. To do this, you need to understand the answer to one simple question: “What is a hack?” A hack, or a hacker, is someone who tries to find security flaws in networks or websites to gain access to personal information belonging to online users.
Online shoppers and people who use online banking are particularly vulnerable against hackers. People who make purchases online will commonly enter personal and financial information, which is what hackers want. They make attempts to steal your identity or rob you of your hard earned money by gaining access to your financial institutions.
Fortunately, there are ways you can prevent hacking from happening to you. Some key ways to prevent hacking including:
- Joining hacking forums – Although it might seem strange, you should join hacking forums, so you get a good idea of different methods hackers use. You can use that information to keep track of their methods. You can better protect yourself if you are well-informed.
- Use strong passwords – Make sure you always swap out default passwords as soon as you get a new device or software. Some websites, software, and devices come equipped with a default password. Hackers will make use of default passwords to penetrate your network and steal information. Use a hard to guess password with capital letters, lower case letters, numbers, and special characters.
- Invest in penetration tests – If you run a business that gives you access to sensitive information, you should invest in penetration tests. Penetration tests allow you to test your software or your network to find possible entry points hackers will use to gain access to valuable data.
- Enable your firewall – Make sure you always have your firewall enabled and configured per the recommended specifications. A firewall adds an increased level of security that hackers must penetrate to gain access to data. Although a firewall is not foolproof, it does frustrate and sometimes deters hackers.
Combining all of the tips above can offer you the hack protection you need to keep your data safe and secure.
Common Types of Hacks
Familiarize yourself with common types of hacks so you can watch for warning signs. There are at least ten common methods hackers will use to access private information. Common methods include:
- Keylogger: Records your keystrokes and sends them back to the hacker, can be used to identify username and passwords, and login information for various websites, including banking institutions.
- Denial of Service: Also known as a DoS or DDoS attack, is a common method used by hackers to disable a website or server by flooding it with packets until the site or server crashes.
- Waterhole Attacks: A waterhole attack involves the hacker attacking the most vulnerable point of access and “poison” it so that it becomes unusable by the victim.
- Fake WAP: A tricky method that hackers will use, often just for fun, in which they create a fake wireless access point in a public place that victims connect to.
- Eavesdropping: Eavesdropping allows the hacker to monitor your system or network without doing any damage to it, which is why governments often use this method of hacking.
- Phishing: Phishing occurs when a hacker creates a duplicate of a website, including a spoofed link, and convinces the victim to log in using their credentials, which then gives the hacker the ability to steal your information.
- Viruses and Trojans: Viruses and Trojans are, of course, very popular among hackers, and are often installed on a victim’s system or network, and then spread to other networks or systems, which can divert traffic and steal sensitive data.
- Clickjacking Attacks: Clickjacking more commonly targets victims who download torrents and stream movies, and although it mainly allows the hacker to earn money through advertising, it can also steal private data.
- Cookie Theft: Involves hackers stealing your “cookies,” which are stored bits of information such as usernames and passwords, and browsing history.
- Bait and Switch: Finally, you have bait and switch, which allows the hacker to buy advertising space online, and when a victim clicks the ad, he or she is then sent to a website that contains malware.
Understanding these common hacks will allow you to prevent possible hackers from stealing your information. Make sure you are always vigilant and wary of anything that does not look or feel right. Trust your gut instinct and avoid websites that seem a bit fishy or off-kilter.
Take it From the Pros
Many professionals will offer additional words of advice that you should listen to and follow. For instance, professionals will tell you to avoid downloading torrents for games, movies, and software. While it may seem like a clever way to gain access to games and movies you’d rather have for free, it comes at a high risk.
Aside from the fact that downloading torrents is illegal, it is also dangerous. You run the risk of becoming a victim of identity theft, which might prove far worse than a hefty fine and legal ramifications. Identity theft can affect you for years to come. Hackers will sell off information related to your identity, which means your personal information can fall into the hands of dozens, or even hundreds of strangers.
Once the wrong person gains access to your personal information, you are suddenly at their mercy. Imagine waking up to find that someone emptied your bank account. Worse, imagine waking up to find out that people question who you really are because someone else claims they are you.
A hacker has no problem using your social security number to earn money and skip out on taxes, leaving you with a world of trouble on your shoulders. It is better to protect yourself by listening to the pros and avoiding certain behaviors and habits that could make you a potential target for hacking.
Overall, there is no way to ensure that you are 100% hack-proof, but you can at least make a hacker put up one heck of a fight. In truth, a hacker would rather get in and get out, just like a burglar. Unless you are a high-value target, they are not likely to spend the time breaking through your line of defense if you build it up properly.
Enjoy online shopping without any disruptions or worry over your personal information by using different hacking prevention techniques. You will find that combining the tips given to you will make you a less susceptible target to hackers in search of their next victim.