There are several things you can do to reduce the chances of being hacked:
Tip #1: Use strong passwords
The passwords should contain a mix of letters, numbers, and special characters to make them as strong as possible. For a more secure password, you should avoid using obvious choices, such as names, locations, dates, phone numbers, birthdays, addresses, etc., since these are easy for hackers to guess.
Tip #2: Keep software updated
The majority of operating systems today come with automatic software updates that help programs stay up-to-date, including when new security risks appear. Check regularly for the release of new versions of software installed on your devices and make sure you're running the latest version.
"Bad actors can go after anyone — young, old, celebrities, journalists, lawmakers, or everyday people," Stewart explains. "You can think of it like a burglar who wants to break into someone’s house — they’re not necessarily going after the biggest house on the block, but the one that’s left its front door unlocked."
Stewart adds: "That’s why it’s important to protect your accounts and devices with strong passwords and multi-factor authentication and by keeping your software up-to-date.”
Tip #3: Install antivirus protection
Antivirus software helps protect against malicious codes that can try to infect your computer. The best way to ensure this protection is through regular scans performed automatically by the antivirus software.
Tip #4: If you are not absolutely sure what an attachment is, don't open it
Whenever you receive an email from someone you don't know, make it a practice to never click on the links embedded in it. If the email comes from a friend, family member, or a business you're familiar with, but you're not sure if it's legitimate, reach out to the individual in a separate email or visit the business' website directly, rather than clicking on the links in a questionable email.
Tip #5: Be wary of unsolicited offers
Don't respond to emails offering free services or asking for personal details. These scams usually involve viruses or code designed to capture log in credentials.
Tip #6: Use encryption technology
Encryption technology, such as VPNs, helps secure communications among computers connected to the Internet. Encryption scrambles data being transmitted, making it harder for attackers to read the contents of intercepted packets of information.
Tip #7: Report suspicious activity immediately
Contact law enforcement officials if you've been hacked and suspect criminal activity, such as identity theft or credit card fraud. Additionally, if you think you've been the victim of a phishing scam, visit IdentityTheft.gov and follow the appropriate steps.