How to Protect Yourself Against Cyber Attacks

by David Kennedy, Founder & Principal Security Consultant for TrustedSec

Is your computer at risk to be cyber-hacked? Miss Teen USA Cassidy Wolf was shocked to find out that someone had allegedly taken nude photos of her … with her own webcam! Learn more about her story on Wednesday, and get tips below to make sure your private computer activity stays that way.

1. Avoid Java
Java has been a major focal point for attackers right now, the point here isn’t just with Java but in general on applications that you may not need. If you don’t need an application on your machine, disable or uninstall it. The fewer number of applications, the lower the footprint an actual hacker has for getting into your systems. Consider reviewing your installed applications at least every 6 months to a year to see if you need something you’ve installed in the past.

2. Download EMET
Download EMET, (Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit), a free tool from Microsoft. Anti-Virus only detects a small fraction of malicious software. EMET is free, easy to configure, and makes it harder for hackers to break in. It does this by profiling how hackers actually break into your system and blocking them in the early stages.

Also in conjunction with EMET – always ensure that you are up-to-date with the latest security patches.

3. Create a Separate Account
Create another account on your computer that is separate from your administrator account. If a hacker breaks into an administrator account, he or she will have free reign over everything on your computer, whereas if they hack another account they will not have access to all of your data. When you use your computer, use that limited account.

4. Delete Your Cookies
Delete cookies in your browser (Internet Explorer, FireFox, etc.) upon closing your browser. You can make it automatic by changing setting in Internet options.

5. Cover Your Webcam
This may seem silly and not needed – however, covering your webcam with sticky notes or putting a piece of tape over it may prevent someone from eavesdropping on your camera. This isn’t a fix for everything else that we’ve mentioned, but this can help in the event your machine becomes hacked. Note that this doesn’t stop any type of audio attacks where a hacker may have access to your microphone on your computer. Also note that the light does NOT need to be on in order for the webcam to be recording.

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