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security secrets hackers don't want you to know
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Safety & security

20 security secrets hackers don’t want you to know

Nobody is safe from hackers. Although data breaches and attacks are becoming more common, there are tons of security secrets most people miss out on. Here are 20 tech tips hackers don’t want to know about.

1. Oversharing on social media

Don’t post this type of information on social media:

  • Children’s names.
  • Pet names.
  • The date of your anniversary or divorce.
  • Kid’s birthdates.
  • Anything relevant to your passwords.

Also, don’t use this info for any of your passwords. Use these five strategies to make powerful passwords.

2. Photos with inside looks of your home

Pictures of your home office sometimes catch images of your computer screen. Hackers can find private information on it. Double-check your privacy settings to stop cybercriminals from taking advantage of your photos.

On Facebook, tap or click on your profile and select Settings & Privacy > Settings. Click Privacy in the left column. Then, adjust these 10 privacy and security settings ASAP.

3. Eerily similar emails are other security secrets

Some of the most successful scams come through emails. That’s why you should scrutinize emails for any subtle signs of spoofing. Often the email addresses and links are very close, but a single digit is off.

Never reply to unsolicited emails with banking or personal information. If you need to conduct business with a company that you normally deal with, contact them directly.

Also, don’t click links or open attachments found in unsolicited emails. They could be malicious and infect your device with malware. Here are more red flags.

4. Your boss needs your personal information immediately

Savvy scammers can impersonate people you work with. So if you receive a random message that looks like it’s from your boss or company’s HR department, don’t give away any personal information. You’re probably dealing with a spear phishing attack.

5. They prey on your emotions

The classic IRS scam call is a great example of this. In this case, a scammer will call you up and say they’ll issue a warrant for your arrest if you don’t pay them now.

Watch out for AI voice cloning scams, too. Bad guys will impersonate your loved ones’ voices and pretend to be in danger. The more stressed out you are, the easier you are to manipulate. Don’t fall for the pressure and scare tactics.

6. Your router doesn’t have security

I bet you’re using strong passwords on your accounts, but what about your router? Use these tricks to make a strong password for your router.

Don’t share it with anyone, though. Use these methods to share Wi-Fi access with guests without sharing your password:

  • Create a Wi-Fi guest network with a separate password for visitors to use.
  • Offer a QR code to scan and connect.
  • Connect automatically with WPS.

Don’t know how to create a QR code for your Wi-Fi network? No worries, we can help. Use our simple guide to share Wi-Fi with a QR code.

7. Security secrets about smart appliances

Our smart assistants can control all sorts of devices, from coffee makers to smart light bulbs. If a hacker compromises just one device, they could access your entire network.

To fix this, enable two-factor authentication (2FA) for smart devices whenever possible. This is especially important when you have home security cameras. You don’t want hackers to have access to those!

8. Not updating passwords on your outdated accounts

Raise your hand if your first accounts had simple passwords like “myredcat” or “iloveJesus.”

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Sorry, but if you haven’t updated those old passwords, hackers can easily access them. And I bet your old accounts have personal info hackers can use to access your current accounts. You should always keep your passwords strong and update or delete old accounts you never use.

9. They pretend to be buyers

Scammers love to trick sellers on sites like Craigslist, OfferUp or Facebook Marketplace. Here’s a common scam you might encounter:

  • Someone offers to pay you by check to buy your item.
  • But the check pays you more than the asking price.
  • They’ll ask you to send back the balance they overpaid — but the check bounces and you’re left without the item or cash.

Takeaway: If it sounds too good to be true, it is. Don’t share your personal details online. Also, don’t take checks or money orders for more than what you asked for.

10. More security secrets: Shady new friend requests

Have you ever wondered why a friend sent you a friend request? A common scam is sending links to videos asking if it’s you inside. Don’t open the video and don’t accept the friend request. You should vet every new friend request before you accept.

Look for these tell-tale signs the friend request is from a scammer:

  • A brand new account.
  • Only one photo.
  • No relevant details.
  • You don’t share any mutual friends.

Scammers will also impersonate companies. They’ll scour banks’ Twitter pages to find people asking for help. Then, they’ll pretend to be a customer service representative from the bank. If you call the “helpline number,” the scammer will steal your login credentials and hijack your account.

11. You can’t always trust public Wi-Fi

Is the danger worth the convenience? Don’t connect your device to an unsecured network. Hackers could get to you!

Follow these steps to stay safe on public Wi-Fi.

12. Online shopping security secrets

Anytime you shop online, you put yourself at though shopping websites will claim to be secure, data breaches happen to everyone. Hackers have stolen payment information from top retailers.

Using a secondary method when shopping online like PayPal or Apple Pay is the smartest way to protect your information. Tap or click here for the five safest ways to pay online. (Hint: Don’t use your credit card).

13. Sneaky withdrawals

Hackers can swipe your credit card info in two ways: hacking databases or intercepting transactions. They start small, like $20 or $30, to avoid raising suspicion. Be alert! Check your bank and credit card statements often and report any unauthorized charges ASAP.

14. More security secrets: Hacker pop-ups are everywhere

A little goes a long way. Hackers get more clever by the day and have introduced little pop-ups to offer you convenient services. They can help you set up your Roku or offer tech support if you are struggling with your online services or programs.

Sudden video pop-ups are a sign of browser hijacking. So are fake search results.

15. Misspelling opportunities

We all have fat thumbs occasionally, but did you know your clumsy thumbs could lead you directly into a hacker’s world? Thieves commonly create websites that look identical to the one you were going to, but the website URL is off by a letter or number. This is a phishing tactic that people commonly fall for. Always double-check the web address before entering any personal information.

16. Hackers are in the app store too

Google and Apple work hard to keep their app stores safe. But bad guys still slip through the cracks. So be careful when looking for new apps to download. An errant click could introduce malware to your device.

17. They don’t want you to know how patient they are

Hackers should be Hollywood actors because they absolutely know how to play the game and make you fall for it. They have patience and are willing to wait you out. They will have a conversation, build trust with you and wait for the perfect opportunity to make that sale.

IT help scams work like this. They don’t try to make a sale right away. They wait until you believe they are a genuine IT company. Employment scams are similar and these hackers have real patience.

They may provide you with a fake employment contract and truly look and sound like a real company. These job offers really have malware hidden inside of them.

18. Hackers hide in plain sight

Just because a website looks normal doesn’t mean it is. Anytime you are online, you should be on the lookout for suspicious activity. Often malicious links will be lurking on regular websites. Clicking on them will infect your device.

You can protect yourself by making sure your browser is up to date and by keeping a reliable antivirus product active on your computer. Tap or click here to choose the best antivirus software for your Mac or PC.

19. One of the best-hidden security secrets: It’s easy to repel them

Hackers want you to think they are scarier than they really are. They are only scary if you think they don’t exist and leave yourself open for obvious attacks. Repelling hackers is easy, here’s how:

  • Always use strong passwords.
  • Don’t click on suspicious links in emails or on websites you aren’t familiar with.
  • Ignore phone calls from numbers you aren’t familiar with.
  • Use payment systems like PayPal and ApplePay to keep your information secure.
  • Stay off public Wi-Fi, but if you have to use it, connect with a VPN.
  • Enable 2FA on your smart devices whenever possible.

20. They love your need to have so many gadgets

We are all over-connected in today’s world. We have smart coffee pots, smart assistants, or even smart scales. Hackers love this. Anything with Bluetooth is more exciting for them. Leave it open and you are leaving an open network for hackers to jump into and steal your information.

Takeaway: These 20 security secrets are just some of the many tactics hackers use to get at your information. There is no need to panic. It is easier than you think to arm yourself against these sneaky scammers. If you do fall victim to a scam, take these three steps immediately.

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