How To Prevent Hacking – The State Got Hacked, Be Sure You Are Not Next
Rumours and investigations of Russian involvement in the U.S. Presidential Election and a possible collusion with the Trump government, brought to light troubling information about cybersecurity. Amid questions of civil rights violations and the blatant disregard for due process, lies the million dollar question; How exactly does a country with one of the highest levels of technological sophistication get hacked?

The State of Georgia is one example of the countrywide hack that left many questions and few answers. Information about the vulnerabilities in the voting system was brought forward by Logan Lamb, a security researcher. Mr Lamb had noticed numerous vulnerabilities in the system a year before the election and notified the right authorities about them. However, no action was taken. His report to the public was prompted by the announcement of Russian involvement in the election by US security services. Days after voters in Georgia filed a lawsuit for an independent review of the server that stored the state’s voting results, the data from the server was deleted.
Information later surfaced showing that technicians from the election centre deleted the data from the server as well as its backups, with the involvement of an assistant state attorney general. While not criminally culpable, the actions are indeed suspect. Had the noted vulnerabilities been fixed, this whole situation might have been avoided.

The questions that arise after such an incident are certainly troubling. Is ignorance to blame? Is the government against the people it is sworn to protect? If so, who will protect people from such widespread hacking? Are there ways to prevent being hacked? In truth, the government itself is a perpetrator of mass hacking and illegal surveillance and it cannot be trusted to be an impartial protector of the people. People, therefore, need to start taking active steps, such as those listed below, to protect their civil rights and liberties and the online right to privacy and security.

Update your systems
Old misconfigured systems are to blame for the hacking of the server in Georgia but that shouldn’t be the case for you. Every once in a while, software developers come up with security updates that cover a wide range of vulnerabilities. These updates minimize the success of malicious cyber attacks against your system. Old systems lack these updates, which makes them easy targets for hackers looking to exploit the system. By updating your systems, you incorporate the security updates that enable your system to be more secure.

Install a VPN
Most people believe that they are safe from hacking just because their network is secure. Recent evidence of WPA2 vulnerabilities shows that this couldn’t be further from the truth. WPA2 encryption is the industry standard for Wi-Fi security. While it promises impenetrable security, KRACK attacks show that it is as porous as an open network. Essentially, only a VPN can only guarantee the security of your network. A VPN encrypts your data and transmits it through another encrypted network with servers around the world. Without a VPN, your network exposes your information, such as the IP address which can be used to track down your physical location. VPN encryption guarantees safety and privacy in such a way that no one can read your information and no one can pinpoint your actual location.

Install firewall and antivirus software
Consider this, just because you’ve built a secure perimeter fence around your home doesn’t mean you shouldn’t burglar-proof the house. While the measures listed above can protect you from outside intrusions, they are both useless if the intrusion comes from within, as in the case of malware. Unfortunately, there are many ways your device can be infected with malware and it would be absurd to try and cover them all. Instead, you should install an antivirus on your devices. It is configured to identify and quarantine or eliminate malicious programs, which is what malware is. If your antivirus doesn’t have firewall software included, you should also consider installing that in your system. A firewall acts more like an early warning system which detects malware, intrusions and vulnerabilities in the system.

Avoid public networks
Whether they are open or secure, public networks bear a significant amount of risk. Open networks, in particular, are fertile fishing grounds for hackers. Since there’s no security, they can easily access your information, infect your devices with malware, etc. Secure public networks are as much of a security risk, especially considering the fact that Wi-Fi is not as secure as most people think.

Verify the security and authenticity of sites you visit
The sites you visit could be used as avenues to hack into your accounts and systems. You should always be careful with the information you share on websites. Secure websites always make use of SSL encryption, indicated by use of the HTTPS protocol in the URL instead of HTTP. More so, you should check to ensure that the site is authentic. Fake domains are created to mimic authentic sites and mislead unsuspecting people into entering useful personal information such as financial details.

If you aim to prevent hacking, you should ensure that you install as many security measures as possible in your systems. While it is impossible to anticipate all security risks, you can ensure that you have your systems as comprehensively guarded as possible.

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