The world is evolving and is currently in a highly technological era where most of our daily activities entail the use of our phones, laptops and other devices, thus it is important we know how to prevent being hacked.

These devices are used to perform transactions online, study, trade, solve problems, store sensitive information and so on. 

Our personal lives are not left out because these mobile devices are used to store contacts, credit cards, passwords, pictures and all kinds of personal and intimate materials.

It is also indisputably a major means to maintain communication with friends, family and colleagues.

Have you ever thought of what could be your fate if something happened to your device? Have you ever lost or had your phone stolen? What did you do?

In recent times, celebrities are mostly the ones that are victims of these hackers/blackmailers. However, anyone can actually be a victim.

Tips on how to prevent being hacked vary from very simple to complex measures depending on your net worth, socioeconomic status, nature of work and so on.

How to prevent being hacked

1. Avoid leaving your device unsecured

To prevent being hacked, ensure that your device is secure at any point in time, this will also reduce the probability of losing your device.

Hackers can get access to your system from anywhere but the easiest way is through physical contact, so ensure your phone and other similar devices are always handy, especially when in a public space.

2. Always update your devices

Most of the devices we use have periodic updates released with new security features. Thus, to prevent being hacked, it is pertinent that we always look out for these updates and update our systems.

Alternatively, some of these devices can be set on auto-update, this allows the systems to receive notifications about new updates and sometimes can even update automatically once you are online.

Furthermore, most devices now support antivirus use, which detects offline and online viruses and malware.

These hackers use this malware to get access to people’s personal information and also all kinds of data including security-related information.

Having installed an antivirus or updated your device should not give you a false sense of security, because this malware can sometimes be hidden or embedded secretly in some mobile or web applications.

As such, a high index of suspicion is needed, always verify the source and the proposed function of any application you intend to download or install on your device.

3. Use a virtual private network [VPN]

Virtual private networks [VPNs] are essential tools for securing your data and protecting your privacy while online.

VPNs achieve the above by effectively hiding your internet protocol address [IP address] and physical location from prying eyes.

VPNs are not just for desktops and laptops, any device that supports the use of the internet including mobile devices such as Android phones, iPhones, iPads and so on, can use VPN.

4. Keep privacy settings on

Privacy setting determines the position as regards the use, collection and disclosure of personal information online.

To prevent being hacked, It is pertinent to activate your privacy setting on all social media accounts, online services, devices and browsers.

5. Use strong passwords

A simple way to prevent being hacked is simply passwording your devices and all online accounts with very strong passwords.

Avoid the use of weak passwords, names, phone numbers, years or dates of birth as passwords.

Strong passwords usually consist of more than four alphabets, numbers, mathematical symbols and special characters. A password manager may be needed as it may be difficult to remember multiple strong passwords.

Also, biometric parameters such as fingerprint, facial recognition, retina scan and so on can be used as passwords for devices.

The passwords should be changed regularly, to make it difficult for anyone to hack.

6. Set up two-factor authentication [2FA]

Multifactor authentication [MFA or 2 FA] is an online verification method, in which a user is allowed access to a website, mobile apps, online financial assets, social media accounts and so on after successfully presenting two or more pieces of evidence to an authentication mechanism.

To prevent being hacked, MFA is recommended. It serves as an extra security feature and should be used by anyone who wants to increase the security of their online property.

7. Do not use public WiFi

Be conscious of the kind of data and information you provide while using public wifi. This Wifi may be monitored by hackers and any information dropped may be easily collected.

As said earlier, VPNs come in handy when using public wifi to access internet data and provide some degree of security and privacy.

8. Avoid downloading apps from an unknown source

Malware can be hidden and propagated via web or mobile apps. Consequently, to prevent being hacked online, users need to download apps from trusted platforms such as google play store, Apple play store and so on.

It is essential to download only very important apps because the more app the more the risk.

9. Make online transactions only from secure websites

Online transactions are on the increase, especially with the recent global pandemic, the need for social distancing and less physical contact has tremendously increased financial transactions online.

However, with this increase comes the attendant increase of hackers and other forms of cybercrime.

Before keying in your financial details into any website, the user must verify that the website is genuine and appropriate for the intended use.

Furthermore, it is wise to have a designated debit or credit card with limited funds for all online transactions.

10. Learn how to auto-wipe or track your phone

You can never be careful enough, so you prepare for eventualities in case they happen. To prevent being hacked set your device to automatically wipe out its memory after a specific number of incorrect attempts to enter the passcode.

Google and Apple also operate a “find my device” that locates your device with the aid of a map, this is usually possible if the location is turned on, on your device.

To turn on location on your mobile device, navigate to settings and then tap on ” location”, you will then see the ON option.

11. Avoid jailbreaking or rooting your phone

Jailbreaking is bypassing your phone’s operating system, this enables you to install apps that are not approved by your device’s operating system.

The demerit of this practice is that it leaves your device vulnerable to hackers. To prevent being hacked, this practice should be avoided as much as possible.

12. Disconnect data connection, Bluetooth and WiFi when not in use

If you are not online, the hackers will not be able to access your device, forming a habit of disabling all online connections after use, which will prevent one from being hacked easily. You could activate “flight mode” after each day’s activity.

13. Restart or reboot your device regularly

Form a habit of restarting or putting your phone off and restarting it after a few minutes. This will make it hard for hackers to easily gain access because you could halt their actions, it could also help log hackers out if they had already gained access earlier to your online platforms.

14. Do not open suspicious mail

Hackers have a habit of sending malware in the form of mail to devices, beware not to fall prey. Delete or spam any suspicious mail in your inbox.

Read also: How to manage mobile phones to last longer