How to protect yourself from viruses and Trojans

You have to remember that there is a huge difference between hackers / cyber criminals and the normal IT-savvy user. The latter have a rough idea about IT security. The former think all day about how to break through increasingly complex systems. Now I thought I already knew a little something about the subject. But no, it happened to me too. I was hacked and the consequences were not exactly trouble-free. How can you defend yourself against it even better?

How do you get hacked today?

I don’t visit dubious sites and never download anything that doesn’t look kosher. But one day a file came from a client. It said, “Please download the file, inside you will find the specifications of the job.” So I download it, because I think the client is reliable. I start the file and nothing happens. It was immediately clear to me that something didn’t fit. So I loaded the attachment into an online file scanner and immediately the warning came. It was a cryptic Trojan, which allows the hacker to see what I see. It also seems that he can operate my computer by remote control. It came from the customer because he himself was hacked.

This is a disaster. If you log into your Google account with your Chrome browser, for example, you will already see it. You can see the password when you log in. So the hacker took my Google password and then logged into my Google account. There, in turn, all the passwords that Chrome has stored can be seen in the browser. Now I’m really not one of those bozos who use the same password for everything. Mine are highly encrypted and very secure. But all that is of no use if someone hacks the Google account in the simplest way and can take all those highly secure access data there just like that. He even tried to lock me out and wanted to change my Google password. Luckily I have the 2-step function set. He didn’t succeed.

And then it started: Some kind of junk was put on my YT channel. On Facebook, attempts were made to do stupid stuff. Discord, Instagram – the spam started everywhere. It took me ages to clean it up. I had to reassign passwords for all social media applications or accounts where you can buy something. I also used virus programs to remove the Trojan beforehand, of course. So what else can be done? Here are some tips:

Use a secure operating system

If you know a little about IT, you should consider switching from Windows to Linux / Ubuntu or Mac. A secure operating system is essential for staying in control of your computer. Most viruses are written for Windows. With Linux and Mac, the danger is significantly lower.

2-step authentication

I had to learn the hard way that it is an immense advantage to use 2-step authentication on the most important apps. Then the hacker can’t log in without you noticing. Then you have time enough to change the passwords.

Do not use the same passwords

There are people who use the same passwords for all sites. This can be a disaster. Never do that. Because then criminals can basically move through your life with a master key and steal everything that belongs to you. Secure your access data with a well-encrypted database, such as KeePass2.

Get a virus scanner

Windows Defender and the built-in antivirus are really nice. But it is simply not enough. Use an additional virus scanner. This would detect a file with harmful content sooner than the in-house firewall and protection.