Ten tips to protect you from hackers

In a pilot class offered this summer, FIU technology Professor Faisal Kaleem is teaching students how to hack – ethically. Students learn about different types of attacks on multiple computing devices, hacking tools and techniques, and countermeasures required to protect valuable and vulnerable data.

Just this week, hackers posted online what they say is login information for more than 450,000 Yahoo users. This breach, coupled with some high-profile credit card hack attacks, have people worried – and rightfully so. If they’re not safe with some of the biggest holders of personal data around, is their data safe anywhere? Kaleem says there are a few steps you can take to make things a little more difficult for cyber criminals.

Here are his top 10:

1. Keep your computer and devices up-to-date by installing the latest security patches and updates.
2. Install security solutions (anti-virus, anti-spyware, firewall, etc.) on your systems and keep it up-to-date.
3. Avoid using passwords that are dictionary words or a guessable names. Use strong and complex passwords and change them frequently.
4. Do not perform any secure and confidential transactions using any non-trusted networks, especially “Public Hotspots.”
5. Do not download and install applications and software from non-trusted websites. Not all .exe files are safe.
6. Avoid becoming a victim of “Phishing” (c). Never click links or attachments in unsolicited emails or text messages.
7. Never rely on the out-of-the-box security settings of any device. Modify them to improve the overall security.
8. While social networking sites are great, try not to post private information. “What is your pet’s name” is one of the secret question that is commonly asked by different web-portals while resetting passwords.
9. Backup, backup, backup. You will need it in case your device malfunctions for any reason.
10. Lock your computer and devices while not in use. If someone has physical access to your device, that is not your device anymore.