Protecting your System & Data from getting 'Hacked'

I wrote this article for a local newspaper, it wasn't published. The heading of this article was "Protecting your System & Data from getting 'Hacked'".

Recently CERT (Computer Emergency Response Team of India) has warned Indian citizens about the cyber attacks and phishing campaign by Chinese Hacking Groups.

In these hard times, we should be aware of potential cyber threats to protect our data and digital life from attackers.

The most common question among individuals during hacking/cyber attacks is- "Why hackers will target me? I'm not a well-known person". Let me answer this question hackers target famous persons as well as individuals for financial gain and pleasure or both.

The method which these hackers use to get your sensitive information from you is called "Social Engineering".

Social Engineering is the process of manipulating a person to gain sensitive information about him/her. The most common technique which hackers use to target individuals is "Phishing". In simple words, phishing involves a fake page of a popular website which convinces the user to enter their login details, as soon as the user enters the login details in the phishing page, the account credentials goes to the hacker. To protect yourself from this kind of cyber attacks, people should know how these attacks work. The hackers use "honey-trapping" technique to convince individuals to click on a link with the intent of stealing their sensitive information.

Here are some tips that can help you protect your data & system from getting hacked.

  1. Choose a strong password. A strong password should be more than 8-11 characters, combined with alphabet, numbers and special characters. Use a different password for different websites.

  2. Don't download apps from external sources. Download apps for your Android device only from Google PlayStore or if you're an Apple user, download apps from App store only. Don't install apps from unknown or untrusted developers on your device. Don't provide unnecessary permissions to apps.

  3. Don't share your password/OTP with anyone, don't visit untrusted websites.

  4. Don't share your bank account information to any untrusted/unknown website, check the URL of the website properly, check for the "Secure" lock icon which ensures that the data transfer between the user & the webserver is encrypted.

  5. Don't download attachments from unknown email addresses. Even if the email appeared to be from trusted sources, check the security details of the email.

  6. Don't share your account credentials on any third-party websites or apps.

  7. Don't click on shortened links on emails.

  8. Don't open emails with the subject "Free Covid19 testing" from the email address or These emails are a part of "phishing campaign" of Chinese hackers.

  9. Don't share your personal information like address, mobile number & other personal details as this can lead to identity theft.

  10. Don't download any software or games from unknown developers and untrusted sources.

These are some of the preventive measures that you can take to prevent yourself from getting hacked from the cyber attacks. The best way to secure yourself & your data is to know how it gets compromised.

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