1. Check if you've been hacked
If you’re worried that you might have been hacked, change your usernames and passwords immediately. You can also use a service such as ‘have i been pwned‘ to find out if you have an account that has been compromised in a data breach.
2. Do not open e-mail links or attachments from unknown senders
One of the most common way hackers spread their malware is by sending e-mails with attachments that contain malicious code. The e-mails can sound innocent but the attachments could potentially infect your computer.
(Related: 5 Scam Tactics You Need To Know About In Singapore)
3. Look for the padlock
Always check that there is a padlock symbol in front of the URL when on a secure website, and that the web address begins “https://”. Websites must pass certain security tests to be accredited with the padlock, and the ‘s’ stands for ‘secure’.
4. Never use the same password twice
Don’t re-use passwords. One ultra-secure one won’t be any good if someone finds it. Security tokens are beneficial here because they’re isolated devices that malware cannot reach. They may be inconvenient, but if hackers do not have access to the OTPs, their transactions cannot go through.
(Related: 4 Signs Of An Online Scam)
5. Stay up to date
Downloading software updates as and when they’re available is a good way to protect yourself. Software updates for computers, phones, tablets, and other devices generally include improved security settings and patches that fix vulnerabilities.
6. Watch what Wi-Fi you connect to
When out and about never use a hotspot that may be unsecured, especially when what you’re doing is personal or private. Also, it’s a good idea to always log out of your accounts when you’re done using them and log off your computer too while you’re at it.
(Related: Singaporeans Beware! Don’t Fall For These Everyday Scams)
7. Do not click on pop-up ads or 'clickbait' posts on social media
This is another way hackers spread their malware. When a user clicks on a pop-up ad or on a post with a particularly alluring title, they may be redirected to a website that downloads malware onto your computer.
8. Use your common sense
If something looks too good to be true, if the prices on a website are too low or if you’re getting unsolicited emails sent by banks, it’s probably a scam. Always be suspicious, it is better to err on the side on the caution than pay for the consequences later.
(Text by Elena Chong, The Straits Times / Additional Reporting by Natalya Molok)