How To Avoid Being Hacked

In 2009, Scott McGready stumbled onto a massive phishing scam targeting his company’s email server. Thousands of emails bombarded the company in a short period of time. They all came from the same source, pretending to be someone or something they weren't in order to lure people into clicking on shady links and giving up their personal data. He was surprised at how little effort was required on the fraudster’s part to acquire a trove of information that was packed into the phisher’s database. Since then, McGready has come up with a few pointers on how to secure your personal data. There's no one trick to protect you from the dangers of technology, but you can do your due diligence, as long as you know where to start. 


  1. 1. Know there is a LOT of data about you online. Something as simple as your basic browsing habits and location history can actually reveal a lot about you. Even if your name's not attached to it, a savvy social hacker could still figure something out. 
  2. 2. Be aware that your friends may expose information about you — even if you're not on social media. It could be something as simple as adding your birthday to your Facebook profile, or a friend who tags you in a photo from high school with your school mascot in the background and — oops — there goes another security question. 
  3. 3. Pay attention so you can mitigate the risks. Keep your social media profiles as private as possible and ask your friends and family to do the same. 
  4. 4. Take some time to get rid of those old accounts. A clever hacker might still be able to figure out something through them. Log into your old accounts and delete them. 
  5. 5. Have a solid password plan. It’s possible for hackers to take one password, see where you’ve reused it, and then get access to those accounts as well. That’s why passwords should be different for every website. Password managers can help by creating unique passwords for you. They keep track of the dozens of passwords you need, while all you have to remember is the master password. 
  6. 6. Set up two-factor authentication that sends a code to a device on your person to make sure the person logging in is really you. Even if your password does get compromised, the hacker doesn’t have your cellphone. 
  7. 7. Consider using a separate email address — with a separate strong password — for important accounts like banking and make sure the secondary email account also has two-factor authentication. 
  8. 8. Be sure to hover over links before you click on them. A link may look legitimate, but upon hovering, you’ll find they might redirect you to a completely different place.