On Tuesday, thousands of private businesses around the world were hit by ransomware attacks, Motherboard reported.
According to photos on Twitter, the attacks cause the screen to go black and in red text, demand $300 in bitcoin.
"If you see this text, then your files are no longer accessible, because they have been encrypted," the text said. "Perhaps you are busy looking for a way to recover your files, but don't waste your time. Nobody can recover your files without our decryption service."
The attack is a sobering reminder of the vulnerability of software, and how in our daily lives, we most likely don't think about the possibility of getting hacked. We just carry on with our days, logging into our interconnected bank accounts, social media accounts, and email servers. Your phone isn't safe either.
But when it does happen, it can be crippling. So we've gathered a few tips to help you amp up your online security, and hopefully, protect yourself against any potential future hacks.
1. Enable two-factor authentication.
Several online services like Facebook, Google, and PayPal require users to use two-factor authentication, or when the site sends a code to your phone via a text message to ensure it's you. It's more secure than a regular, old password.
2. Install HTTPS Everywhere.
This extension, brought to us by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Tor Project, can be used for most internet browsers and gives you an encrypted version of whatever site you're on if it's available. This makes it harder for hackers to get your information as you browse the web.
3. Keep your software updated.
This one's easy enough. Make sure to install the recommended refreshes when new software rolls out, as updated security patches are usually released, too.
4. Turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
Whenever you leave your home, aka a secure network, turn off your Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for added security.
5. Use a secure messenger app.
Instead of sending sensitive information over iMessage or email, use a secure app like Signal.
6. Hover over email links.
If you're sent an email with a link, hover over it with your mouse to ensure that the URL is actually what it claims to be. The same can be said about email addresses. If you see an odd email come in from a person you know, but you weren't expecting anything, hover over the name to ensure you recognize the email.
7. Set up a VPN.
A virtual private network is like a firewall for when you're online on a public network, like at Starbucks. Basically, it makes it as if you're online on a private network by encrypting data. You can sign up to use a VPN provider to do so.
8. Use different passwords.
Using the same password for everything is easy on you — and hackers. Change it up for added security. Just don't forget it.
9. Back up your files.
Nothing is 100 percent safe, despite taking various precautions, Lucas Apa, a hacker expert in Seattle, told Complex. Don't forget to back up your information to an external hard drive every once in a while.
Your future self will thank you.