You got HACKED!! (No I didn't, or did I ??)
There is a lot of malicious software out and going recently and you might get hacked. You are more likely to be hacked by some kid on the internet than American CIA. I'm sorry to break your wet dream of being hacked by a hairy ginger CIA operative. The most common methods as of today are using fake websites(phishing), links with software that abuse the authentication software and trojans from free software. I do not consider DDos a hack, a hack is when someone takes control of your accounts or hardware.
Tip 1 - Use two-step and wit to avoid phishing.
Phishing isn't really hacking per say, it's a short cut to get access to your account. Someone creates an exact copy of popular websites and send you the link. If you log in, instead of getting logged in. The hacker records your information. Then later he can use your password to compromise your services. The best way to avoid phishing is to use two-step verification. It's mandatory to use two-step on emails that you have used to register services. If your email gets compromised a hacker can reset all your password on other services. A really bad day.
Most browsers also use a verification service to check if you are on an authentic site. It's the green thing that appears in front of the url. Keep an eye on it especially if you are on a public computer.
Tip 2 - Avoid clicking short code links from people you don't trust.
Your browser is easy to compromise and the amount of malicious scripts out there; is limitless. The modern way of getting people to click on malicious links is by using short links with media that looks like it comes from a valid source. Be careful with what tweets you click on and from who. Some of the links abuses social media identification keys and cookies to gain control of your social media accounts. They will be able to change your passwords if you are using incompetent service providers.
Tip 3 - Get free software from the author.
Go to the trouble to find the homepage of the program you are going to download. Make sure you use a link they give you, to download free software. It is very common to have free software libraries for you to download stuff. But they are often funded by adware and spyware and alike. These have security holes that hackers can take advantage of. Another easy trick to find safe and good free software is to look for software that is also available in Linux. This is because free in Linux usually means it's free like beer, also open as in free like freedom. In windows terminology free usually means you don't use money, but they get the money by other means. These services keep paywalls alive, because it hinders distribution of free software.
Tip 4 - Antivirus etc...
An antivirus is not the saving grail of malicious software, like it used to be. You should have it, but never trust it. Antivirus software is bloated and intolerable. Sometimes it's better not having them. This is true especially on low powered machines, leave them as is. Always download antivirus software from the source. Many antivirus software's lie about catching viruses. They detect things that are not viruses to appear better than competitors. The best defense against malicious software, is not getting it on your computer. An antivirus is just a helmet, it does not protect you from stupid.
Tip 5 - Cloud and easy to remember passwords
Now that most is in the cloud, computer hacking is becoming less valuable. Security in your browser and your social media accounts is getting more important. Especially the passwords. One way of avoiding loosing your passwords to key-loggers is using a key-chain, the problem is that key-chains are only as safe as your key-chain. It's also easier to forget the passwords.
Tip 6 - Use different passwords
I recommend using different passwords for each service, and a way of making them easy to remember. For example if you have a base password which is the same, then you add some letters of each service. This will make it impossible to guess the other passwords. Choose a gibberish word of 3 or more random characters, that is not in the dictionary and 3 or more numbers, that are not your date of birth. (Not 1234,1111,1337 or 4242). You can take the first and the last, or even according to the numbers you picked. Now you can easily remember all your passwords. When you change a password, change all the passwords and chose a slightly different formula. You should change once in a while. Use a large letter and a symbol. It does not make your passwords much safer, but some services require it. It’s better to have it on all than to have inconsistency.
Here are two examples:
|‘word”letters based on number”number’||425||F!stysplint||F!stysplinter425||F!stysplintwt425||F!stysplintaf425|
|‘word”letters based on number”number’||3638||B!ring||B!ringdtd.3638||B!ringiei.3638||B!ringcock3638|