If you’ve never been hacked, consider yourself lucky. However, you’ve probably heard the horror stories people have gone through in the hands of hackers. People have lost their hard-earned money; others have had their personal information exposed to the public. In some cases, hackers have turned into downright terrorists where they’ve hacked into people’s home appliances and taken control of them. Being hacked is nothing to joke about and though hackers can still find ways to gain access to your smart devices, there are things you can do to protect yourself.

Here are some ways you can protect yourself from hackers.

1.Update Your Software Frequently

Many people have fallen victim to hackers because they postpone software updates until it’s too late. This mistake can cost you more than the few minutes you didn’t want to waste while updating . Software developers normally try to stay ahead of the hackers by reinforcing programs regularly. Therefore, the latest software updates are harder for hackers to exploit. Ensure that you keep both your home and work devices up to date so that you can avoid hackers accessing your devices easily. Whenever you receive a notification to update your software, always do so.

2. Be Wary Of The Free Wi-Fi

Avoid using unsecured Wi-Fi networks as this is the easiest way for hackers to gain access to your personal data. Anyone with a working knowledge about security can use this network and hack your devices. Depending on who’s on the network with you, this could be a potential security risk. Ensure that you secure your Wi-Fi and don’t log in to any accounts, even social media, on public Wi-Fi.

3. Use Strong Passwords

It’s necessary that your passwords are hard so that hackers can’t figure them out easily. The harder our password is, the less likely you are to get hacked. Avoid using names that they can get such as your parent’s name. Additionally, make sure the password is long enough and consists of capital letters and small letters. You should also avoid using one password for everything as this exposes all your accounts.

4. Clear Your Browser History

Hackers don’t have to go to great lengths to gain access to your information. Browsers like Chrome normally save your search history. Therefore, anyone who has access to a computer that you’ve previously used can check your online activities and even access your account. Make sure you log out of your accounts and clear your browser history once you’re done using a device especially if it doesn’t belong to you. Alternatively, you can use an incognito mode which doesn’t save your browsing history.

5. Respond To A Security Warning

Accounts like Gmail will normally send you a mail to alert you if a new device has logged in to your account. Most times, it’s you and you can simply ignore it. However, if you haven’t logged in to your account using a different device, you should take this warning seriously. Normally, they’ll indicate the location where your account was accessed. This should let you know if you’re dealing with hackers. If you are, follow the instructions given.

6. Use A Reputable Anti-Virus

Tech gurus will tell you that every anti-virus is not equal. There are those that offer more protection from viruses and most importantly, hackers. These softwares contain firewalls that stop malware from accessing resources on your computer. Therefore, you should always have an updated anti-virus on your computer to keep out the hackers.

7. Keep Your Phone Secure

As mentioned, hackers aren’t just online, they’re in the real world too. Your device may end up in the wrong hands and without any security, they can gain access to your data. As such, always ensure that your phone always has a security Pin/Password . Additionally, you should secure sensitive apps such as social media, banking apps, and communication apps using a strong password or biometrics.

8. Encrypt Your Files

Whenever you send sensitive material over the web, always ensure that it’s encrypted. This protects the content so that unauthorized people can’t open it. It’s quite easy to encrypt your documents. You can use software like FileVault that’s built into Macs. If you’re using Microsoft, you can make your Word, Excel, and Spreadsheet documents password-protected using the Read-Only feature. There are also third-party programs that enable you to encrypt your data.

9. Choose Apps Wisely

One should only download apps from trustworthy sources that have established a good reputation. This is because some hackers create apps which mirror legitimate apps like Whatsapp so as to steal your information once you download them and give them access to your information.

10. Be Skeptical About Links and Attachments

Another method that hackers use to get information from their targets is by Phishing, this involves send one an email with a link or attachment which contains a virus. Once you click on the link/attachment, a virus is downloaded which goes ahead to steal your information and it can even lock you out of your devices.