Cyber-crime is at an all-time high. However, hackers continue to prey on the weak, largely using the same methods they’ve always done. If you’re shrewd enough, you can easily fend them off. Here are a few simple ways to deter hackers.

Keep your firewall up to date

Your devices need to be protected with security software. However, this security software needs to always be up to date, otherwise you’re taking a sword into a gunfight. Most security software will automatically update. However, some will not, in which case you may have to manually refresh it – or opt for another security company.

Back up files on the cloud

Ransomware hackers are one of the most extreme types and will hold your files hostage, locking you out of your own computer and threatening to delete all your files unless you pay the hacker money. Backing up all your files on the cloud will prevent these ordinarily scary hackers from having any leverage – yes, they can delete all your files, but you’ll have them all backed up so it doesn’t matter. You can use disaster recovery programmes such as Infrascale, which allow you to lock your computer and switch to your cloud files in the event of such a hack. This is particularly useful software to have if you run a business and want to keep it running smoothly.

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Password lock everything

Make sure that any device that has Wi-Fi access is password protected. This includes obvious devices like your PC and phone, but also other smart devices like your TV (even a smart kettle could be a threat – if it has a password function use it). You can also password lock individual files, known as encrypting.

Ensure that you have multiple passwords in use and they’re all a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters and numbers. Avoid allowing yourself to be automatically signed into programmes and sites – especially if these programmes and sites have access to your card details (e.g. Amazon, iTunes, Steam etc.).

Use creative security question answers

Security questions are there to give added protection to your password. However, if too obvious, they can provide an easy point of access. Hackers may be able to easily find your mother’s maiden name or your first school through a Google search. Answer creatively – if a security question asks for your first girlfriend’s name, answer with something completely off the wall like ‘your mum’.

Phish out fishy emails

Spam filters can help to phish out all those dodgy emails, telling you that you’ve won a competition but just need to fill in your bank details first. Some email services already have spam filters in place, but scam emails can still slip through the net. You can install a more advanced email filter such as Spam Hero, or just try to be coyer. The golden rule is to never share your bank details via email, Facebook messenger or text to a stranger – you never know who’s on the other end.