Opinion: Computer hacking may never fully go away even with the best new technology — and we may not want it to

It’s easy to see why yous need home security to protect your home, but protecting yourself online is harder to imagine. But think well-nigh it: you go online everyday, multiple times a day, and you’re using a lot of personal data every bit you practice it, from your proper noun to your email to your bank account information and pretty much everything else in your life. Yet, 66% of thought leaders at small businesses believed that cyberattacks were unlikely, profoundly underestimating the
threats at hand1
. The truth is, over 17% of people say they have been the victim of a cyberattack, and some other 16.5% weren’t certain, which is arguably
just as concerningii
. Just like your firm, you need to start thinking almost your digital security, merely fortunately, our experts accept done near of the heavy lifting for you.

What Is Digital Security?

In a nutshell, digital security means protecting your computer, mobile devices, tablets, and any other Internet-connected devices from intruders, which could be in the course of hacking, phishing, and more. Digital security could also be used to protect your personal data from being used and sold past companies. There are a number of ways to protect yourself online, from VPNs to password managers and identity monitoring services. Outset, let’s talk more nigh the threats at hand.

Cyber Attack Statistics

In 2018, the almost recent data available, $2.vii billion were lost from cyber crimes as reported to the FBI’s Net Offense Complaint Center (IC3). This was up from a little over $ane.4 billion in 2017, with nigh 51,000 more complaints overall. A large concentration of the victims were people 50 years old and upward, showing how less tech-savvy are more likely to be victims of cyber attacks. Donna Gregory, the IC3’s chief, explained,

“The 2018 report shows how prevalent these crimes are. It too shows that the financial toll is substantial and a victim can be anyone who uses a connected device. Awareness is one powerful tool in efforts to combat and prevent these crimes. Reporting is another. The more than information that comes into the IC3, the better law enforcement
is able to respond3

When looking at identity theft specifically, about 10% of people over the age of 16 had been the victims of identity theft inside the past year resulting in losses of over $17 billion, as of the virtually recent information from 2016. That’s an increase of 3% from 2014, and for 85% of victims, merely 1 type of account was affected, typically a financial business relationship. Non only does identity theft crusade financial issues, but also emotional, particularly for problems that took
six months or more to resolvefour

But there are ways to prevent cyber attacks, hacking, phishing, and the like. Read on to detect out how from our cybersecurity experts.

What Is Hacking? And How To Avoid Information technology

When you hear the word “hacker,” you probably think of a guy in a black hoodie, slumped over a computer, furiously writing code. And while that may be the instance for some hackers, they actually come up in all shapes, sizes, and levels of ethics. Only earlier we get into that, we want to accost the full general question on everyone’s mind, namely—what is hacking?

What Is Hacking?

Hacking is the practice of using cognition of applied science to break into computer systems, exploiting their vulnerabilities. The hacker, the person who performs the hack, might block admission to the system, gather information within the organisation, or gain admission to other devices within the aforementioned network.

Types of Hackers

Like we said before, not all hackers are created equal. Typically, they are split into 3 categories: white hat, black chapeau, and grey hat.

  • White Hat Hackers:
    White lid hackers are ethical penetration hackers who are typically hired by the companies they’re hacking into. Yes, you read that right. Companies actually rent hackers to find vulnerabilities in their systems earlier the bad guys get to it offset. White hat hackers may exist hired in a contract, full-time, or they might operate through bug bounty programs, where a company offers coin to anyone who can find a vulnerability. Fifty-fifty cybersecurity has been impacted by the gig economy!
  • Black Hat Hackers:
    Playing off of that, black hat hackers are the “bad guys” you often meet portrayed in movies. They hack into systems illegally for reasons of personal gain, typically taking fiscal or personal information to steal money and identities.
  • Grayness Lid Hackers:
    Similar annihilation in life, hacking has a gray area. While greyness hat hackers may not have malicious intentions necessarily, they aren’t super concerned with post-obit the laws, so they might hack into a visitor’s system without their permission. Notwithstanding, the reason for the hack would be different than with a black hat hacker. Perhaps it is to help the company, believe it or not.

Types of Hacks

Forth with these types of hackers come types of hacks, which can more often than not be split into two categories.

  • Zero-Day Hacks:
    Zero-day hacks include vulnerabilities that the company has never seen earlier. In fact, the company may non even be enlightened that they’ve been hacked. Black hat hackers normally save zero-24-hour interval hacks for companies that they can stand to gain from personally, be information technology an international business or a national security organisation. It’s organizations similar these that promise huge fiscal returns— that is, if you don’t get caught.
  • Miscellaneous Types Of Hacks:
    Every other type of hack often uses what’s called a script kiddie, pre-existing software that doesn’t require much programming knowledge in society to attack a organization. Unlike zero-solar day hacks, script kiddies are pretty easy for systems to protect themselves against if the
    software has been updated5
    . So exist sure to practice those software updates, no matter how inconveniently timed they might be!

How Hacking Works

Just how do these hackers observe vulnerabilities in systems, exploit them, and proceeds personally? Three major routes reign supreme:

  • Social engineering science:
    The simplest mode to hack an account or system? Just inquire the user for their password! This may take the course of phishing or spam telephone calls, so be careful who you’re giving your credentials to. Once a hacker has your password, they can easily grab your credit and debit bill of fare information, social security number, and other stuff yous want to keep hidden.
  • Programming-Based Hacking:
    More advanced than social applied science, programming-based hacking actually requires the hacker to find vulnerabilities in a organization and accept over all administrative privileges.
  • Physical Access:
    Of class, possibly the easiest fashion to hack into a calculator or system is to have physical access to it for a long time. May we implore you to be careful with your possessions or even invest in a home security arrangement?

Why Hacking Is Bad (And Good)

Merely similar any ability, hacking tin can be used for good and evil. Let’s showtime with the bad. Not-upstanding hackers have the ability to:

  • Steal credit card data, personal information, login credentials, and more
  • Attack national security of other countries
  • Inject malware into computers
  • Modify or
    destroy data6
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Ethical hackers, on the other hand, can use hacking for:

  • Hacktivism, pregnant political or social causes
  • Improving security of websites or apps.

How To Protect Your Smartphone From Hacking

Whether it’s listening to a podcast on our fashion to work, doing quick calculations every bit our mental math skills have almost completely deteriorated, or putting everything from movies to doctors appointments in our calendar, there’s hardly ever a moment when we don’t have our smartphone by our side. Then if we were to exist hacked, nosotros’d be in deep trouble, risking information about our credit and debit cards, location, social security number, and more.

Just don’t throw abroad your smartphone just nonetheless! There are a number of ways to prevent hackers from gaining admission to your smartphone, and none of them require much time or try. In just a few minutes, you tin become from zero to hero regarding smartphone security. Let’s get started!

  • Don’t Jailbreak:
    No, this isn’t a game of Monopoly. Jailbreaking your smartphone ways that you accept complete control over your smartphone, avoiding the manufacturer’southward restrictions. So on an iPhone, for example, that means you’ll be able to employ apps from places other than Apple’s official app store, plus make any tweaks to your phone’south iOS. However, we don’t recommend jailbreaking because with freedom comes lack of security. Offset of all, you shouldn’t be downloading apps that aren’t from the app store, as they haven’t been screened for malware. In fact, when y’all jailbreak your telephone, y’all’re basically taking down all of the security measures that the manufacturer has built into their smartphones— call back of it like bulldozing the argue around your business firm. While you might appreciate the view, you’re a lot more vulnerable than y’all were before. Jailbreaking also removes the smartphone’due south virus protection, plus, you won’t be able to easily update your software, which could pb to further problems down the line.
  • Make Smartphone Lock Sooner:

    In the moments where nosotros don’t have our smartphones on hand, you might have noticed that they lock, forcing you to enter in your passcode or biometrics like your fingerprint or face. While it might exist annoying to have to sign in every time, ultimately, it’southward protecting your device, and so we recommend setting your auto-lock to 30 seconds, meaning information technology will lock with no activity for 30 seconds.  And if you don’t have the lock turned on at all, needless to say, y’all should probably change that.
  • Perform All Software Updates:
    Companies like Google and Apple tree accept people working around the clock to improve the smartphone’s security, so if there’s ever an iOS or Android update, practise information technology. Although these updates can be abrasive, they’re incredibly necessary for keeping up with the latest and greatest in security software. We recommend doing them at night so you’re never without your smartphone in your waking hours!
  • Prepare Ii-Factor Authentication:
    If you lot’ve been paying attending, so you know that it’south a smart thought to plough on auto-lock so you’ll have to enter a passcode to access your smartphone, but if you want to take that a pace further, we’d ready two-factor authentication. That way, if someone guesses your passcode, they still won’t exist able to access your telephone, as your phone company will send you another lawmaking via text or phone phone call. Once more, this will make opening your smartphone a bit more than tedious, but it’s a fantastic thought if y’all’re serious nigh avoiding hackers.
  • Create Long Passcode:
    When choosing a passcode, people tend to practise something adequately obvious, like their birthday, numbers in chronological order, or a portion of their phone number. Needless to say, this isn’t the safest practice. Rather, the numbers should be truly random, and be certain to employ a six-digital passcode, the longest possible. While it volition be a bit harder to remember this number, information technology volition besides exist harder for hackers to approximate, which is ultimately a good matter for your phone’south security.
  • Plough On Erase Data:
    At present, what if your smartphone is lost or stolen and for some reason, your hackers are able to admission your account? Of course, this is a worst-case scenario, but in a weird way, thinking about what to do in these situations is kind of our job. Don’t worry: in that location is a solution, and that is to plough on Erase Data, otherwise known every bit setting your smartphone to self-destruct. The other option is having the phone automatically “self-destruct” after too many failed passcode attempts. Of course, this is a more than farthermost mensurate, but either will ultimately increase your smartphone’s security.


  • Avert Phishing and Popular-Ups:
    Phishing has gotten increasingly sophisticated, sending tech-savvy people ostensibly legitimate links and pop-up ads. While phishing is a topic nosotros have a lot more to say nearly, in that location are some nuts we want to impart to you. Don’t e-mail any sensitive information unless you are sure of the recipient, and don’t click on whatever links unless yous are sure they are legitimate. Scroll downward to discover out how y’all can tell if a website is safe or not.

  • Turn Machine-Fill up Off:
    Car-fill, which fills out forms automatically with your personal and fiscal data, is both incredibly convenient and incredibly dangerous if your telephone gets in the wrong easily. What’due south to stop a hacker or thief from using your credit carte information to buy themselves a new wardrobe from Supreme? While it might make your life a flake more wearisome, it is the safest idea to turn off auto-fill up on your smartphone.

Is This Website Condom?

Given the amount of times we use the Internet in a day, we probably spend comparatively very lilliputian time thinking almost which websites are rubber to use. Of grade, going to a bad website tin can take major consequences like phishing, viruses, malware, identity theft— you name information technology. Merely how are you supposed to know when a website is unsafe, and what are some things you can do to make sure yous’re just visiting legitimate websites?

If you’re short on fourth dimension, here are a few quick signs of a website that’s a-okay to use:

  • Padlock symbol next to URL
  • HTTPS in URL rather than HTTP
  • Privacy policy on website
  • Website accepts all major payment methods.

Just like in dating, when you’re surfing the web, it’s important to look for red flags like:

  • Browser tells you the website is unsafe
  • Many pop-ups or redirects to other shady-looking websites
  • Website but accepts bank transfers or wire payments
  • No return policy or privacy policy on the website.

Permit’south dive in a lilliputian deeper.

In-Browser Tools For Website Safety

Chances are, your browser already does a lot for you in terms of seeing which websites are safe. Personally, nosotros apply Chrome, which:

  • Blocks pop-ups
  • Sends “do not rail” requests to websites to protect our data
  • Disables unsafe wink content
  • Stops malicious downloads
  • Controls which sites can access our speaker, microphone, and camera
Popular:   Former employee accused of hacking customers’ computers

Simply get into your browser’s settings and check in the “Privacy and Security” section to meet how your browser filters out the bad. Of course, these built-in browser prophylactic tools don’t catch everything, which is why information technology’s important to perform other tests.

Other Website Safety Tests

If you lot’re non feeling confident that a website is rubber, the easiest affair to do is enter information technology into a website checker like the
Google Transparency Reportvii
, the
Norton Condom Web Checkerviii


pictured above. Information technology’ll tell you lot whether the website is rubber or not in under ii seconds!

Of course, you don’t want to have to enter every website you go onto into an online checker, every bit that would be pretty time-consuming and inconvenient. Then, in that location are a few things yous can scan for yourself to see if a site is legit.

Use Trusted Retailers

This one may seem obvious, just especially if you’re doing whatsoever online shopping, try to use retailers who yous’ve heard of, Amazon being the most obvious choice. Remember, y’all are giving this site your credit or debit card information along with your name, email, and address, which could exist really unsafe if information technology got into the incorrect hands.

Double Cheque URLs

Sometimes, scammers will misspell names of trusted URLs or replace one of the letters with a number, like writing go0gle.com instead of google.com. In a rush, this is something you can easily miss, and with faux websites imitating existent websites as well as they do, it’s pretty like shooting fish in a barrel to requite your personal data to the bad guys. Luckily, if you apply Firefox or Chrome, you can merely hover your mouse over the “anchor text” (AKA the text that is linked), to see the URL before you click on information technology; it’ll show up in the lesser left-hand corner of your browser. If you’re a Safari-user, only go to the view menu and click prove condition to become the same feature. Do a quick spell check to brand sure you’re safe!

Annotation Payment Methods

Bank check that the website accepts all major credit and debit cards. Any normal website will have normal payment methods from the major credit/debit carte du jour companies, like Mastercard, Visa, American Express— you get the drill. If a website only accepts banking concern transfers or wire payments, steer clear.

Check Review Sites

The Cyberspace is the perfect place for people to air out their problems to as many people who volition mind. Chances are, if in that location’south a subject, people have reviewed it on the web, from restaurants to e-commerce sites. Have advantage of people’south insatiable need to publicly rate everything and cheque review sites similar TrustPilot, especially if it’s an e-commerce site. Yous don’t even necessarily have to use a review site. Only ask Google if the website/ visitor is a scam and see what people have said. If multiple people say information technology’southward a scam, they are near likely correct.

Check For HTTPS

Now, this isn’t 100% foolproof, only virtually reputable websites volition have URLs that begin with HTTPS rather than HTTP; and yes, if y’all’re wondering, the S does stand for secure. Basically, that tiny little letter is the difference betwixt a secure website that encrypts your information and a scam website that steals information technology (with exceptions, of course). If the website is secure, you’ll encounter a padlock to the left of the URL, but note that some unsafe websites have HTTPS, and so information technology’s non guaranteed to exist safe. All the same, one hard and fast rule that you tin follow is never enter your password or fiscal data on whatever website missing the padlock.

Look For A Privacy Policy

The truth is, near reputable websites have privacy policies, every bit many countries require them past constabulary, so be certain to look for ane on a website. Now, we’re not saying you’ll be able to sympathize these policies, equally they’re often written in what we in the industry call “legalese”. But to become a skillful idea of how the website will employ your data, press Control F and search for things like “third-party,”, “data,” “shop,” and “retain”. If a website lacks a privacy policy at all, we wouldn’t trust information technology.

Don’t Blindly Trust “Trust” Badges

Do you know how piece of cake it is to become one of these so-called “trust badges” on your website? It’s so easy that yous can literally type in “trust badges” to Google images and drag them onto your site. Although these seals may look legitimate, literally anyone could add them to their website, from huge companies like Barnes & Noble to the shadiest “foreign prince” on the web. We’re not saying these trust badges automatically brand a site untrustworthy; however, y’all shouldn’t error them for security.

Look For These Red Flags

There are a number of cherry flags that not only make a website a poor user experience, but also might be a inkling that something is awry. Sentry out for:

  • Wink warnings
  • Pop-ups
  • Too many exclamation points!!!!!
  • Redirects to other sites that look unsafe
  • Search engine warnings from your browser or search engine
  • Bad spelling and grammar
  • Casuistic text
  • Weird pictures
  • No space to get out product reviews
  • No return policy or privacy policy on site
  • Prices that are too good to be true.

Equally much as we detest to judge a volume past its cover, these are all signs of a website that’south non super safe.

Look Upward Domain Owner

Near reputable websites, particularly for businesses, volition have a domain owner, hands lookup-able on
ICANN’south Domain Name Registration Information Lookupten
. This website will besides tell yous the date this registry expires, the organization and mailing address of the registrant, and the data the registry was created.

Call Company

We know it sounds one-time-fashioned, but even the virtually advanced robots take trouble mimicking humans exactly. Therefore, if you’re not sure if a website is from a real company, an easy way to find out is merely by calling them over the phone! Typically, near websites will provide a phone number either on their Contact or About United states of america pages. If you lot tin can’t find it, you can also try looking information technology up on the exact same whois lookup above, or try contacting them through customer support.

Additional Spider web Security Tools

Finally, a straightforward way to avoid going to harmful websites is to utilize spider web security tools that protect y’all from viruses. Here are some summit examples:

  • Norton
  • Kaspersky
  • McAfee
  • Bitdefender

With these software programs downloaded, you lot won’t have to worry almost giving your personal data to dangerous sites. Information technology volition do the piece of work for you and then y’all don’t take to worry nearly information technology at all!

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VPNs are Virtual Individual Networks that encrypt your web traffic in a tunnel, completely hiding your web activity and replacing your IP address. They’re peculiarly useful if y’all’re on a public network like a java store, or if you simply want to access another country’s server then you lot tin savour Netflix Italy. VPNs make it much less likely that your device will be hacked, and y’all tin can easily download them onto your phone, tablet, computer, or even your router.

Our Experts’ Favorite VPNs:
ExpressVPN review, NordVPN review, CyberGhost review, Surfshark review

Product Spotlight: ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN Continued

Possibly the most recognizable VPN on the market, ExpressVPN has over 2,000 servers in 148 locations, then it’s very likely you can detect ane virtually you. Based in the British Virgin Islands, ExpressVPN isn’t subject to any international surveillance alliances, and then your data is safe with them. With ExpressVPN, y’all’ll be able to torrent files through uTorrent, access private and public networks simultaneously through split tunneling, and fifty-fifty access Netflix, to all the cinephiles out in that location. Plans are available on a monthly, half-dozen-month, or yearly basis.

Term Length Monthly Cost Billing
1 month $12.95 Billed $12.95 monthly
vi months $9.99 Billed $59.95 every vi months
12 months $8.32 Billed $99.95 every 12 months

Identity Monitoring Services

Having your identity stolen can be one of the most emotionally and financially draining things you can go through, which is why it’due south important to use an identity monitoring service. While none of them are guaranteed to completely forestall identity theft, they can monitor key areas that could indicate that your credentials accept been stolen, such equally your credit reports, bank, credit card, and investment accounts, likewise as the dark web and other criminal activity areas. For example, if your name shows up on a sex offender registry, you’d want to know about it, right? The aforementioned goes for if a new tax return is filed in your name. Plus, if your identity is stolen, most identity monitoring services will reimburse you lot for your losses for up to a million dollars. Non too shabby!

Pinnacle Identity Monitoring Services reviews from our Experts:
LifeLock review, Identity Guard review, IdentityForce review, Aura review

Product Spotlight:

PrivacyGuard Dashboard

PrivacyGuard will monitor your credit reports monthly from the three main credit-reporting bureaus, Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax, along with your financial account, the dark spider web, public records, neighborhood reports, registered offender locators, and more. Say there was a neighborhood report that included your name. You’d be alerted via email and SMS alerts, and if your identity is stolen, y’all could exist reimbursed for upwards to a 1000000 dollars. To try PrivacyGuard out for xiv days merely costs a dollar!

Credit Protection Identity Protection Full Protection
Monitoring of 3 Credit Bureaus Yes No Yeah
Credit Score Alarm Frequency Yep No Yeah
24/seven Triple-Bureau Daily Credit Monitoring Yes No Yes
Public and Dark Web Scanning No Yep Yes
Social Security Number Monitoring No Yes Yes
Driver’s License and Passport Monitoring No Yes Yes
Depository financial institution Business relationship Monitoring No Yep Yes
Debit and Credit Card Monitoring No Yes Yes
USPS Address Change Verification No Yes Yes
Email, Telephone, Proper noun, DOB Monitoring No Yes Yes
ID/ Application Verification Monitoring No Yep Aye
Public Records Monitoring No Yes Yes
Children’s Social Security Number Monitoring No No Yes
Email and Text Alerts Yes Yes Yeah
Dedicated ID Fraud Resolution Agent Yes Yep Yes
Online Fraud Assistance No Yeah Yes
$1 Million ID Theft Insurance No Yes Aye
Lost and Stolen Wallet Protection No Aye Yep
Annual Public Records Report No Yes Yes
Reduced Pre-Canonical Credit Card Offers No No Yes
Neighborhood Reports No No Yep
Registered Offender Locator No No Yes
Emergency Travel Assistance No No Yes
Medical Records Reimbursement No No Yes
Monthly Price $19.99 $ix.99 $24.99

Password Managers


One of the most annoying things about engineering science is having to remember so many unlike passwords for different accounts. Plus, each business relationship probably has its ain rules, like yous must have special characters, you can’t have numbers, no repeated messages, and more than, making information technology even harder to call back everything. And the process of resetting your password is less than fun, especially because y’all’re probably just going to forget it over again!

Password managers make it easy to access your accounts by remembering your passwords for you, in a secure way of course. They’re besides bang-up for storing important or sensitive information, and even automatically filling out web forms for you!

Best Countersign Managers Co-ordinate To Our Experts:
Dashlane, Keeper, Viscid Password, Password Boss, LastPass, 1Password

Product Spotlight:

Keeper Password
Keep Countersign Protection Security Audit

There are a few things more than abrasive than having to reset your countersign, but with Keeper, that’ll never happen over again. Keeper remembered all of our passwords beyond all of our devices. To sign in to an business relationship, all nosotros had to do was use fingerprint ID on our iPhones and iPads, and enter a code sent to our mobile device while using our computer. Keeper likewise made certain that all of our passwords were strong in the first place with a password strength study. After identifying which of our passwords were weak, one-time, or repeated, Keeper generated strong new passwords for us via their password generator. They even filled in forms for united states of america using KeeperFill, which certainly upped the convenience factor fifty-fifty more. And don’t worry; all of our passwords were stored in an encrypted vault for safekeeping.

Individual Family
Number of Individual Vaults ane 5
Unlimited Countersign Storage Yes Yes
Unlimited Identity/ Payments Yes Yes
Fingerprint and Confront ID Login Yes Yes
Unlimited Devices and Sync Yep Yeah
Secure Record Sharing Yes Yes
Emergency Access Yes Yes
Web App Yes Yes
24/7 Back up Yes Yes
ten GB Secure File Storage No Yes
Monthly Price $two.fifty $five
Yearly Price $29.99 $59.99


Existence online doesn’t accept to exist scary. There are many tools out there that can protect you online, like VPNs, password managers, identity monitoring services, and but adjusting the settings on your devices. Knowing how to surf online safely is the first stride to protecting your personal credentials, and with guides from Security.org, we’ll do our best to keep you safe and secure. Be sure to check out our guides to the best VPNs and the all-time identity monitoring services, all of which have been tried and tested by our experts.

Opinion: Computer hacking may never fully go away even with the best new technology — and we may not want it to

Source: https://www.security.org/digital-safety/