Hackers running riot, here’s how you can protect yourself

The year 2016, is turning out to be the year of data breaches. Hackers have become particularly active and just today, we are hearing about two big data breaches: Millions of Gmail IDs and password almost went on sale and there is a suspect data breach in the IRCTC website that is used by crores of Indians.

With hackers on the march, how can you be safe? If you think who would want to hack my account and steal my data, you couldn’t be more wrong. According to a recent report, a hacker was sitting over 272 million email accounts and passwords, and he was ready to trade them, wait, not for money, but just for a good name in hacker forums. Any inconspicuous user could be a target. You as well.

Unfortunately, most people keep only one password for different accounts, for example, same password for Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, or even online banking. Even a simple brute force attack can reveal thousands of email credentials, a more professional attempt will do more harm.

So what can you do? There are a few simple things that you can do to keep yourself significantly safe from hackers.

Don’t trust add-ons

A website may tell you that an add-on is needed to run something or other on the page. Don’t trust it. Add-ons are applications that you can install to support the browser perform specific functions. For example, an IDM add-on will let you download a video.

Not all add-ons are trustworthy. They not even slow your browser and thus, system, they can also insert malware, cookies into your system. Malware can track all your actions on your computer, offline and online, and also steal data.

Always install add-ons from trusted developers like Google, Adobe and the likes. So next time if a website asks you to install add-on to make your Chrome or Firefox more colourful, just close the tab.

”     There is no foolproof way of denying hackers access. But even a little something can make a big difference, for the internet is dark and full of hackers     “

Don’t trust pop-ups

All pop-ups are advertisements, and all advertisements seek your attention, so much so that they won’t mind following you everywhere.

To put it in a simple way, all websites work with advertisers. And the sharing of user information with advertisers across the web falls under Digital Advertising Alliance. And it’s not illegal. But then, not all advertisers are legitimate.

Clicking on a pop-up may reveal your location to the website, leave trackers, malware, trojan in your system. None of these things are good.

Install ad-blocker

No pop-ups, no ads anywhere, not even on YouTube. Doesn’t that sound like a dream? You can have it. Just add a simple extension to your browser, Adblock Plus. You’ll get rid of all the ads, pop-ups and even intrusive, harmful website scripts.

There are websites which will ask you to turn off the ad-blocker, because ads are basically the foremost money generators for websites, and they are not at fault for asking this from you.

You can turn off the ad-blocker for that site selectively. However, it’d be better to use your own judgement that for which website you should turn it off.

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