Nzangi Muimi

7 Tips to Protect Yourself from Hackers Online

Actionable tips to protect yourself from hackers online by making it hard for them to infiltrate your devices and steal sensitive data.

The web has been a very disruptive technology that has revolutionized how we do things since its inception in 1989. Businesses can run their operations online, including selling products, sending communications, and marketing. This is by the use of web apps, which we discussed their specific uses in the construction industry in another post.

Individuals can buy products online and pay without having to leave their houses. The web and the internet enable us to automate a lot of our daily tasks. It is something that is part of my daily life too.

However, hackers online target many of us. They spy on social media sites that we like to post, send malware to infect our devices, and trick us into clicking malicious links so they can collect our personal and financial data and commit crimes.

Hacking is not entirely a bad thing. It is a great way to test the strengths of software by conducting penetration tests, identifying loopholes, and recommending how to seal them for further development.

However, over time, people with such knowledge have been using it to exploit other people’s and businesses’ data online for malicious reasons. That’s why, when you mention hacking today, the first response will be negative.

Apart from hacking and the use of malware and trojans, hackers also use social engineering skills to manipulate innocent people into giving out their personal data and access to their accounts and devices.

Therefore, it is important to know how to protect yourself from these hackers online. The following are some of the seven tips that you should adopt to make it hard for a hacker to gain unlawful access to your devices and data while on the web.

1. Maintain up-to-date Software

Your devices run operating system software and other apps that help you do your daily tasks. That could be word processing software, email software, or a web browser. This software is targeted by attackers online to mine data.

It is advisable to always make sure that you have the latest versions installed on your devices.

This helps because when software is released, attackers start to exploit loopholes in it. If they find any vulnerabilities, they exploit them to siphon critical information from your device (IP address, your physical address, and your email address, among others).

Software updates are meant to fix any bugs or security vulnerabilities that the developers may have identified. When you update to the latest version, you get the latest security features and are protected from vulnerabilities that may have been exposed in earlier versions.

2. Install Antivirus Software

Antivirus software, such as Kaspersky, scans your computer system to detect malware and other dangerous pieces of software that may be used by attackers to target you. It then neutralizes and deletes them to protect you.

Make sure to have an active antivirus on your device and occasionally scan it to keep away malware and trojans.

Also, you should enable browser protection on your favourite web browser (Chrome, Firefox, etc.). The antivirus browser protection scans the website links on a web search and tells you whether it is safe to click on them or not.

It is an essential security practice that you should implement to protect yourself from visiting infected websites and avoid giving hackers the upper hand.

3. Use Strong and Unique Passwords

We use usernames and passwords a lot when we access our accounts online. This can be your email, social media account, or buyer account on an e-commerce website or banking portal.

If hackers get to know those details, we stand to lose our accounts or, worse, enough money.

It is advisable to make sure your passwords are strong – over eight characters and with a combination of various character types to make it hard to guess. Also, every account should have a unique password; don’t use a similar password for all your accounts.

I know it is hard to remember over 50 or 100 unique passwords. That’s why apps for securely storing these passwords were created. Your favourite antivirus software could have that. Please take advantage of it. If that’s not available, Google has the Google Password Manager service that you can use too.

4. Enable Multi-factor Authentication on Your Accounts

Most platforms and sites now have the option of two-factor authentication on the login page. Besides your username and password, a unique code can be sent to your email or as a text message to your phone number to verify that you’re the correct owner of the address requesting to log in.

Make sure to enable multifactor authentication on all your accounts. This way, anyone who might know your username and password won’t be able to log in because they may not have access to your email or text messages.

Multi-factor login authentication adds an extra layer of security to your account.

5. Avoid Unsecure Websites and Suspicious Links

Hackers manipulate you into clicking on links that contain malware. This can be through emails (sending you an email that looks like a real deal from an authentic company) or links in search results.

If you were not expecting to receive any email from the sender, do not click any links or download any email attachments. They are a potential for hackers to infiltrate your browser and computer system. Avoid them.

Also, ensure the websites you visit have a security feature enabled. You can identify them by checking if their address starts with HTTPS (that means a secure sockets layer is enabled on the site).

If the site is HTTP only, proceed with caution. Do not shop on any e-commerce website that does not have HTTPS. Your bank card details may be stolen easily.

6. Avoid Unsecured Public Wi-Fi

Public Wi-Fi gets a lot of attacks. Hackers target them because they know many people connect to them, which increases their possibility of stealing more people’s information.

Especially for those that are not password-secured, do not connect to them. They are potential targets for malicious people who intercept information sent over the network and can read your private emails, chats, log-in details, and even credit card details on e-commerce websites.

7. Don’t Install Software Cracks

Some people tend to avoid buying genuine software and opt to download cracked versions from pirated websites. I know some software may be very expensive, and you may not have the money to buy it. But the truth is that hackers use these cracks to get access to your device.

Why do you think you download them for free? Cracking software is not easy, and there must be a way for the hacker to benefit from it. That is, by getting access to your device, collecting your sensitive data and possibly selling it on the dark web.

Be careful with cracks and always use up-to-date, genuine software versions. For students and educators, you can apply for genuine educational licences for the software you use in academic work on the official vendor’s website.


We have seen how hackers target innocent people online to steal sensitive data for malicious gains. This can be done by exploiting code vulnerabilities in software and apps or manipulating the users psychologically to steal data to compromise their security.

Whatever method they may use, the above seven points should help you navigate the online world with confidence.

Make sure to make them a daily practice whenever you surf the web, and you will have made it harder for hackers to exploit you online.

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