It’s no secret that we’re in the Era of Information Technology. It’s not a secret that when the Internet first appeared, there would be a lot of teenagers that would get a hold of high corporate paid jobs because they had hacked into these corporate databases. This would be a weapon against other companies to steal their intellectual property and profit from that, whilst protecting your company at the same time for the data to be unbreachable.

Would you like it if other people saw what you had but you couldn’t see theirs? An unfair advantage, if you ask me.

In the era of technology, protection against hackers and malware is very important.

Let’s talk about a few ways to protect your devices, regardless if you’re using a desktop, laptop, or even your phone.

1) Common Sense

Watch out for the Nigerian Princes that are trying to give you a million dollar for free because they love you and want to share it with you! Don’t send them 1000$ first for transportation costs!

Nowadays, Spam filters in e-mails do a great job of collecting the emails that have unsafe information buckled up into them, but there’s still the small ones that get through and might contain malware.

The bottom line is: If the email is not from someone you know, or some service that you have consciously subscribed to, don’t open it, don’t read it and especially don’t download anything and don’t click any links.

If it says you won a million dollars, you didn’t win anything. Don’t click on site ads, those might also take you to malicious pieces of software.

Second bottom line is, don’t click on anything that sounds too good to be true. Ads are ads, and they are there because they make money. They don’t make you any money - they make money for the individuals or companies that advertise them.

Common Sense and staying out of places on the Internet that you don’t know is the best protection that you could have.

2) Ditch that old version of Windows

For some people, this might be really painful because old hardware tends to not work well together with new Windows versions, but you’ll be surprised at how fast and robust Windows 10 is nowadays, after a massive wave of updates. And also, it’s the safest up to date!

Did you know that Windows systems have a period of time which is called Mainstream Support, and also another one in which they still get updates which is called Extended Support.

Basically, vulnerabilities to these systems are found very often, but Microsoft and their team of security experts works really hard in cover them in time and deliver the updates to you, the end user, in time before the malware does any damage or even gets to you.

This support has a limited timeframe, so getting the latest Windows version makes perfect sense. Also, if you’re still using Windows 7, there’s still a free option to move to Windows 10. Google it and you’ll find plenty of answers.

Now, the more recent versions of Windows also have a built-in Windows Defender into them and a Firewall, but these aren’t always the best options. You’re better off with a:

3) Custom Antivirus and Firewall

Getting an Antivirus Software from a specialized company will yield you a lot more protection than the standard Windows software. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to pay for it. There are plenty Antiviruses that offer their services for free, having some premium packages for sale or monthly subscriptions that add some more features to the software, and also usually display ads that are not harmful.

A few of these antiviruses are:

1) AVG Antivirus - Somewhat the pioneer of free antivirus software, I’ve been using this one for years and have never had a problem with it. It also saved me from a lot of malware and it’s pretty light on resources.

2) Avast Antivirus - Top Dog today in the Free Antivirus section, has the highest detection rate of most antiviruses and a very friendly user interface.

3) Bitdefender Free Antivirus - The Free version of this Antivirus is automated and noob-friendly. Just install it and let it run! You’ll barely notice it. Also, this software is very strong and protective.

Paid Antiviruses can be also acquired, and they serve their purposes well, but, most of the time, they do exactly the same thing as a free antivirus, so you don’t actually need these.

Honorable mentions:

1) ESET Nod32 Antivirus - This used to be the best solution for a few years and it’s bad-ass reputation has transcended to our days as being one of the best solutions for your devices.

2) Kaspersky Antivirus - Great piece of software and one of the most powerful bad boys around.

3) Norton Antivirus - One of the older boys made by Symantec, a very solid company that has found new solutions throughout the years. From what I remember, it’s a bit hard on the resources. Only for the stronger PC’s.

Windows Firewall does a good job, but it can be supplemented with a stronger software option, which can be acquired with most antiviruses available out there. Most of the time, a security company will not only provide antivirus services, but also a software suite version containing everything you need.

4) Account Protection

Account protection should start from the passwords first. Do long passwords, preferably more than 12 characters, that should contain information that’s not common nor close to you (don’t use your phone number! EVER!), so it can’t be guessed. Also, make sure to use at least one number in your password and a special character like -,*,& etc. This makes the password strong and not vulnerable to brute-force attacks.

Now, some sites offer two-factor authentication and this is pure gold, because you need to confirm with a code that you receive by SMS, in general, that you want to login into the app and it’s actually you.

There have been cases of stolen PC’s. If you’re travelling a lot and you save your passwords, it’s not a bad idea to activate Two-Factor Authentication, not only on poker sites but on any account that may contain currency, because if your laptop gets stolen, the thief now also needs your phone to login into your poker account, which will generally be on your person.

5) Watch out for shared information

Don’t tell people which school you’ve been to in the first grade. Don’t tell them your mother’s maiden name. Don’t make this kind of information public, because recovering e-mail passwords requires answers to personal questions, answers that a malicious person might find even on your Facebook account. Don’t give up sensitive information for everyone to see!

Watch out also for social engineering hackers that will try to imitate representatives from different companies and ask you for your password. You should never communicate any of your passwords to anyone.

6) Phone Security

As per phone security, my best advice is to use the Internet that you have from your call provider, because Wireless Networks can be very dangerous.

Especially the ones that you can connect without a password.

There are many types of attacks via Wi-Fi, all you need to know, for now, is that unpassworded Wi-Fi networks will transfer data unencrypted, and if you’re not using a https secure connection on a site, your passwords will be visible in the clear.

Most large sites use https nowadays, but if you use a small service that doesn’t have https, but still lets you log into their site, there’s a big chance that the password you use for this service will be the same that you use for a lot of accounts. Thus, the hacker can hijack your other accounts easily.

Always use the latest version for your operating system because this will have the most recent security updates.

I hope I scared you enough to start and take some measures. 95% of you out there are not fully protected, and I know, it’s a pain in the ass, but make sure that you’re the only one accessing your devices, yeah?