Fans of the hit American television series Prison Break will know that if you plan how to overcome barriers well enough, and if you find the right people who have the same goal as you, then what may seem impossible becomes the perfect escape.

Prison Break’s plot has to do with breaking out of a prison and not breaking in, but if it was the other way around then surely the brother’s challenge to get his innocent sibling out would be the driving force to accomplish that too. Just as Michael Scofield plots and plans to get his brother out of confinement, hackers plot and plan to hack security systems of networks and gain control. But why? Mostly because they are paid big bucks to do so.

Lately hackers have gone for some big fish, with Britain’s NHS under threat and rumours that a certain airline’s computer system crashed due to hackers. These are just two examples and the havoc that was caused by the break-down – or almost break-down – of these systems is evidence to why we should all protect our online presence. Whether we are an individual with social media accounts or a large corporation whose whole business depends on the smooth running of its network and software, it is of the utmost importance that we take all measures to not allow unwanted hackers in.

These are just some of the steps we can follow to keep hackers out.

  • Change default passwords immediately – after you have installed software, you will be able to log into that software with a built-in password. Make sure that the next step you take is to change the password you were given with one that cannot easily be guested, and also only give the password to a hand-full of people if possible.
  • Know where the hackers are coming from – hackers can come at your network from certain entry points. You can install proper scanning software programmes to identity these points. You can also perform attack and penetration tests which will enable you to pin-point these vulnerable points in your system. This method works for both external and internal users, so you are safe from forces outside the network and forces within because you just don’t know where a hacker could be lurking.
  • Keep your eye on forums – there is a forum for everything out there, so why shouldn’t hackers have one? Follow these forums and keep updated on all the latest methods hackers are using so you can know your threats before they become real.
  • Firewalls – a network security system that monitors and controls the incoming and outgoing network traffic based on predetermined security rules is something that all networks must have. But there is a big different between having one and configuring it properly. If configuration is not done right, then you might as well just give the hackers your passwords. Make sure that the rules that are set to allow traffic through the firewall are properly set in place. Go back to these rules from time to time when you have analysed your traffic in order to make sure your security is maintained.