3 Ways to prevent someone hacking my computer?

There’s a war going on every day in cyberspace. It’s a war that puts companies and agencies trying to serve their customers against the cyber-thieves (hackers, spies, etc.) trying to get at their data. While you can’t fully protect yourself from hacking, you can help prevent it from happening.

Ways to protect your data

Let’s take a look at some useful and easy ways to protect your identity and data

1. Select a good password

You’d be shocked at how easy many passwords are to guess. Your pet’s name, your pet’s name spelt backwards, your favourite TV character’s catchphrase, your boyfriend or girlfriend’s name (or “ilove” followed by that name), and so on. If you think people can’t guess it, you are wrong. They can and will.

2. Set (and maintain!) an alternate email address

Many services use an “alternate email address” to mail you a password recovery link if you forget yours. You must set this up before you need it.

First, make sure to configure that option, using an email account on a different system. Create and use a Yahoo account for your Outlook.com alternate email, for example.

Second: don’t lose the alternate account. For many systems, if you can’t access that alternate email account, you cannot get your password back, and you will not be able to recover your primary account. Remember to log in to that alternate account every so often to keep it from being shut down for inactivity.

3. Enable two-factor authentication

Two-factor authentication is the current holy grail when it comes to account security. With two-factor properly enabled, hackers cannot get into your account even if they know the password.

The second factor that proves you are who you say you are is typically either:

  • A mobile app that provides a unique and random number on-demand, which you must provide when you log in
  • A text message sent to a phone number you configure when you set up the account, which you then also enter at login

A final word

Fix the problems NOW! Before it’s too late. Trust me: if you get hacked and it’s for one of those reasons, or you lose access to your hacked account because you never bothered to prepare, you’ll kick yourself.

For more information contact the author, Ryan Danvers at 072 601 2858 or email him at ryan.danvers@abacon.co.za