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Hackers often target email and social media accounts as part of their schemes to steal your information. Being victimized by a hack can have a major detrimental effect on your reputation or can even lead to something as severe as identity theft.
Knowing what to do if you are impacted by a hack is extremely important in order to minimize the negative effects right away. Below are essential steps you should take immediately to protect yourself and others after suffering a hack:
- Change your password – You should quickly change your password on the hacked account and any other accounts you have guarded with the same password. If there are any hints at all regarding what your passwords might be (name of your pet, job, birthdate, etc.) then that is reason enough to change your passwords too.
- Notify your contacts – Any contacts that are linked to your account should be notified as soon as possible about the hacking incident. This will help ensure they do not click on links or respond to hackers and unknowingly fall into the trap of a phishing or malware scam.
- Report the hack – Reach out to local authorities to alert them of an active hack happening on your account. You may also want to speak to someone at your bank if you believe financial data was accessed during the illicit act. If the hack is very serious and you are concerned your information has been stolen and maliciously used, then you can report it at www.identitytheft.gov to receive assistance creating a recovery plan.
- Review your account – Log into your account and check everything thoroughly to make sure there are no new or unusual links posted anywhere. Review your list of contacts or friends to verify no strange people have been added who were not there before.
Securing Your VPN Server
Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) offer a great sense of security for individuals who need to connect to a system remotely. By using a VPN, a person can access an encrypted internet gateway without using his/her own private connection.
VPNs are known to be a secure method for entering databases from any desired location in alternative to traveling to the actual location where a computer is, like an office setting. Despite the positives though, VPN users still face security threats such as a personal device being accessed by a cybercriminal somehow.
To combat the risks associated with VPN use, refer to the below tips:
- Enforce Policies. Most data systems operating in a defined location have policies in place so that users can protect information. Transferring these policies to remote VPN users will remind them to take caution when using their devices. Developing and enforcing penalties for users who fail to abide by the policies will lead to increased compliance.
- Implement Strong Authentication. Authentication methods will vary for VPNs depending on its purpose, but using the strongest one available is the safest.
- Add Encryption. Adding encryption to your VPN will strengthen its defense against cybercrimes.
- Set Access Limitations. Limiting access to only the individuals who have a legitimate need to see and use particular data will allow easier monitoring. This will also lower the chances of information being exploited through a personal device.
- Include Other Features. If features are available that allow tasks to be done without connecting to the VPN, they should be utilized to reduce unnecessary access.
- Require Additional Protection. Require that VPN users install extra layers of protection to their devices such as firewall and antivirus software.
VPN servers can easily become the target of a cyberattack. Follow the tips listed above to avoid the consequences of having a vulnerable server.
Keeping Your Apple iPhone Secure and Hack-Free
Apple has publicly stated that their iPhones are designed with security of your information and privacy in mind. Your iPhone is said to have protections built into it that prevent anyone from accessing data contained in your device itself or the iCloud. While this sounds convincing, Apple recommends you take some of the extra cautions listed below to prevent a security incident such as hacking:
- Set a strong password – Make sure you set a password that is required to be entered prior to gaining access to anything in your iPhone. Do not use common or obvious words or phrases and ensure it is very unique.
- Utilize Face ID or Touch ID – Supported iPhone models allow you to add security features that only authorize access to content in your phone upon physically seeing your face or identifying your fingerprint.
- Activate ‘Find My iPhone’ – By activating the ‘find my iPhone’ feature on your device you will be able to locate it in the unfortunate case that it is stolen or lost. This may allow you to find the phone before anyone is able to somehow gain access or report it to authorities if warranted.
- Secure your Apple ID – Your Apple ID is what permits you to gain access to your iCloud and apps so ensuring this is protected sufficiently is important.
Additional security methods in the iPhone that can fight against hacks include adequately controlling data and location, reviewing privacy notices of apps prior to downloading them, and gaining an understanding of your browsing privacy. Apple links are provided for further information on all of the security suggestions mentioned hereinabove.
vpnMentor has admitted that Apple sets high standards for their users’ privacy and that their iPhones are likely more challenging for hackers to break into. Despite this though, it is believed that hackers can find ways around the sophisticated security measures set forth by Apple and even have used their creativity to spy on users through iPhone cameras. This information reiterates the idea that being extremely careful and mindful about apps that are downloaded and what is shared during that event can make or break a hacker’s malicious goal.
How to Protect Your Windows PC from Ransomware Attacks
It is fair to say that Windows applications are installed in more than half of all PCs, which means that devices with this software may be at a greater risk of contracting a virus or becoming the target of a ransomware attack compared to their opponents. The good news is that Windows systems are equipped with internal safeguards that can help you steer away from ransomware threats.
Adhering to the below recommendations should be helpful in your efforts to protect your Windows PC from malicious activity:
- Staying up to Date: When updates become available the latest version should be downloaded. Restarting your computer at least one time a week ensures updates are consistently made.
- Security: Windows offers a security feature that must be turned on in order to work (or Windows Defender Security in older versions). Windows 10 adds an additional layer of protection specifically for your folders that can be found at the end of the following chain of settings: update & security>windows security>virus & threat protection>virus & threat protection settings>manage settings>controlled folder access.
- Back Up: Backing up your files is a wise move to make so that in the case a ransomware hacker gains unauthorized access you have an alternative method to reach your property.
- OneDrive: Storing your files in OneDrive provides automatic protection against ransomware because it has the ability to detect such dangers and also has recovery tools in place.
Ransomware attack susceptibility can also be majorly reduced by remaining vigilant about visiting unfamiliar websites, opening attachments/emails you were not expecting from someone or an organization that is not recognized, and clicking suspicious links on social media sites or other webpages. Furthermore, taking the time to self-educate on ransomware safety and performing backups on a daily basis are steps to take that may give you the upper hand if an unfortunate incident does affect you.
Sometimes leaning on external controls aside from the basics is necessary for sufficient protection against ransomware attacks, especially when highly important files and information are at stake.