We tend to think of hackers as loners but the reality is that cybercrime is an intricate and collaborative network. Hackers have a variety of motives, from financial gain to political goals. Knowing what they’re seeking can help you anticipate attacks and put systems in place to protect your small business.

Some hackers make use of their skills for good, locating security holes and bringing them to the attention of authorities to fix them. White hat hackers are paid by their employers to carry out penetration testing. Some hackers are more sinister like the ones who steal personal information to commit credit card fraud, identity theft or use viruses to make unauthorized payments or to shut down devices.

A secure password is your first defense against hacking. Implementing two-factor authentication on sites like social media and banking will improve your security. Encrypting your hard disk is a different way to prevent hackers from gaining access your private information even if you gain access to your device. Update your operating system, browsers, and important applications regularly. Most devices will automatically download updates that can eliminate software vulnerabilities that could permit hackers to view or steal information.

We live in a connected world, where our phones and tablets, as well as computers are always online. It’s tempting to let your guard down and share a lot of information online, but that’s exactly the kind of information hackers are after. Avoid using public Wi-Fi to shop and accessing personal accounts. Also be sure to keep a separate account open 24/7.

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