The recent “WannaCry” ransomware attack was unfortunate for those who fell victim to it. But, it serves as an important reminder to everyone that we have to stay vigilant against hackers, identity thieves, and other criminals online. As we tell our Fort Collins internet customers, even people who believe they know how to stay safe on the web should review the list of best practices periodically as a refresher.
How to Stay Ahead of Hackers
Here are some tips for making sure you don’t get burned:
- Be informed. Watching the news, reading articles, and following tech-related blogs can help make you aware of the latest scams. Get the scoop before you become a victim. Doing so also lets you warn family and friends so they don’t get caught up in them.
- Look closely at URLs. Hackers may try to lull you into a false sense of confidence by leading you to a bogus website that looks exactly like the real one. It may also have a website address that is nearly the same. Look closely at a site’s URL, especially if it’s a site where you intend to provide credit card or other information.
- Don’t use a debit card online. While you’d hate for a hacker to steal any of your payment information, you definitely don’t want them to get access to your bank funds. Credit card companies are good about reimbursing people who are the victims of identity theft. Your bank may or may not be so generous.
- Be VERY cautious about clicking email links. Unless you are absolutely certain that a link in an email is from a trusted source, don’t click it. This is good advice even if it appears to be from an organization you do business with. It’s better to open a browser, type in the site’s address, and navigate to the page you’re being asked to visit.
- Look for “https” and the padlock icon. If a website’s address doesn’t have these items beside it, indicating the site is secure, you should be suspicious.
- Create very strong passwords. While it’s easier to remember a password that combines your favorite color and your favorite animal (say, bluecow), that password is also much easier to hack. Something like 4eY349(4#j is going to be much harder for someone to figure out.
- Protect your Wi-Fi connectivity. We tell our Fort Collins internet customers to protect their network by changing the default settings on routers and other equipment. We also advise them to make sure their connections are password protected.
- Install security updates promptly. When security updates are released for your operating system, devices, etc., install them right away. The longer you wait, the more you risk being hacked.
Don’t Let the Bad Guys Get the Best of You
The internet is an awesome place to shop, explore, and do business. Just be sure you use caution. If you have questions about our Fort Collins internet services, complete our website Contact Us form, stop by our facility, or call us at 800-935-6527.