Protect yourself from hackers

A group hackers recently demonstrated that some free messaging apps for smartphones may not be very safe.

A group hackers recently demonstrated that some free messaging apps for smartphones may not be very safe.

At a conference in New Delhi, a team of ‘white hat hackers’ (the kind of hackers software companies hire to test their security features) showed how messages sent through a Chinese free texting app can be decrypted and used to obtain a mobile device’s chat logs, location, mail and more.

This shouldn’t be news, but apparently it is. Despite ever increasing awareness against hackers, scammers and other such con artists, these people continue to fool others and find their marks, sometimes with generally ridiculous methods.

In any case, there are some really simple things you can do to protect yourself. While hacking and identity theft are very real threats, hacking takes a great deal of knowledge and effort. So much so, that it could be referred to as an art form.

On the other hand, the majority of con artists are lazy and don’t want to put a great deal of time or effort into their scamming. Instead, they are looking for quick and easy marks.

As such, they prey mostly on naive people.

Don’t send sensitive personal information through text or email. Similarly, don’t give out such information over the phone when asked by people you don’t know.

Since the Internet has made everyone’s personal information a little more public, scammers have become a bigger threat. Scammers know this and have taken to sending phone calls or emails asking for personal information claiming it is in order to ‘protect’ victims from scammers who have infected their computers or other devices with dangerous software that will steal their personal information unless they take immediate action.

What some people don’t know, but everybody should, is that no one can obtain information from your computer unless you have sent it to them. Most malware and spyware needs to be accepted by a user in order to start obtaining any information.

True, this is usually done in a way that the user doesn’t know they have just activated a malicious program on their own computer, but the simple solution to this is not to send or accept anything from programs or people you do not recognize.

Therefore, if someone tries to tell you they have information you are pretty sure you haven’t given them, they are lying and trying con you. Again, the best way to protect yourself is not to give any kind of information out to anyone over any electronic device.

Ever.