All of you have heard horror stories about hackers getting access to your computer. So you’ve decided that it’s finally time to do something about protecting your own laptop.
3 Steps to Hack-Proof Your Laptop
1. Let’s start with your Wi-Fi router
We know that the security standard when setting up a router is to add a password and to use WPA-2. Before we go too much further though, I want to talk about a proof-of-concept exploit that has been discovered and it’s called KRACK – short for Key Reinstallation AttaCK.
KRACK works by exploiting a common flaw that exists in the handshake between your device and the Wi-Fi network. Should it be exploited, an attacker can grab your financial information, all your passwords, any emails, messages – just about any data on your device without needing to use a password to access your network.
The thing about a proof-of-concept exploit is that it hasn’t been used yet; at this stage, it is a demonstration, a kind of warning if you like, that the vulnerability exists and it’s time to do something about it. So, here’s what you should do:
- Continue to use WPA-2
- Update all operating systems and devices
- Minimize public Wi-Fi usage. KRACK is local and an attacker must be in range of the network, making public Wi-Fi more of a risk.
2. Install Softwares to Protect Your Laptop
How else can you do to hack-proof your laptop? Well, you can get some software to protect your computer. Here are what you need:
A. Anti-virus/Anti-Malware Software
The best anti-viruses out there are good at keeping your systems up to date with the constantly growing virus definition, but it won’t hurt to have an extra layer of protection. Make sure that you have a good anti-virus AND anti-malware (e.g. Malwarebytes) installed on your laptop.
B. Virtual Private Network (VPN)
A VPN will spoof your location, so you can watch internet content from different areas. But not many people realize that they have a proper security function too. When you go through one, you are only connecting to the VPN provider and that is very heavily encrypted. The provider then sends your connection to the site you are going to, and this means:
- Your ISP cannot track you
- Your IP address can’t be tracked, rendering you anonymous
- None of your data can be intercepted and read because the link between you and your VPN provider is encrypted
All of this is vital, especially if you use public Wi-Fi regularly.
C. Password Manager
We all have so many passwords to remember and, short of having the same one for every site (a big no-no), it’s virtually impossible to keep track. Weak passwords can be cracked easily so using a password manager will protect all your passwords and all you need to do is remember one master password.
3. Proper Computer Usage
There are other ways that you can hack-proof your laptop and much of it involves simple common sense. They include:
- Be Careful What You Download. We’ve all done it – downloading from a website we shouldn’t have done and then most likely paid the price with malware or virus. Only download software from the developer, never from a third-party because you won’t know what you are getting.
- Not opening every single email attachment. Many virus and malware spread from an email attachment by masquerading as a document or an image file. Whenever you open one, check the file extension (never open a .exe, .dmg or other executable files unless you know what you are doing).
- Stop sharing so much on your social media site. The more you share, the more you are giving away information about yourself. Information about products you use or which website may seem harmless at first, but they may be exploitable by hackers and lead to identity theft.