The Ping: How to Avoid Getting Hacked

Almost every day we hear of a new way hackers are stealing personal information from the public. They are creating so many new ways to exploit us that it’s almost impossible for the security vendors to keep up. This underlines the fact that the best way to try and remain malware free is, and probably always will be, to practice safe computing habits.

What is safe computing?

  • First, and foremost, stay away from unsafe websites! Many with links to images, particularly the ones with nudity in them, will also launch an attack that will infect your workstation.
  • Make sure the Windows or Mac login you do your day-to-day surfing under does NOT have administrator rights to your machine. This could, potentially, help prevent any malicious malware from installing on your workstation if you do happen upon it.
  • If you receive an email you weren’t expecting DO NOT click on any links. If the email was from a friend or colleague, verify they meant to send it to you.
  • Updates! Keep your workstation’s operating system, antivirus program and 3rd party apps and plug-ins up to date. If you already have a support agreement with UniVista then we’re doing this for you.
  • Change all of your accounts from their default passwords and don’t use unsafe, easy to guess, passwords for any of your account logins. Complex passwords are at least seven characters long and include at least three of the following types of characters: upper case letters, lower case letters, numbers, and non-alphanumeric characters.


What if I still get a suspicious looking popup?

DO NOT CLICK ON ANYTHING IN THE POPUP! Doing this might allow malicious malware to install on your machine. Instead, bring up your Task Manager and force close your browser until this popups(s) disappear. To do this on a Windows workstation click the CTRL-ALT-DELETE keys and then select Task Manager. On a Mac, click APPLE-OPTION-ESC and then end your browser.


How can I monitor my online activities?

You can still get hacked even if you’re practicing safe computing. It’s therefor critical that you are notified as soon as someone is trying to use your systems and accounts for malicious purposes. There are a few free services that can help you do this:

  • You can get a free credit report at
  • Experian offers a free credit report and monitoring service at You’ll also get up to the minute credit alerts if you load up the included Experian app on your phone.
  • Protect and monitor the malicious activities of your home devices with a free OpenDNS home activity monitoring account. You can sign up here.


UniVista is always here to help so if you need some advice or if you do think you might have acquired malicious malware on your machine please call us at 512-832-6209.

Good Luck & Safe Computing,

Your UniVista Team
*Celebrating 20 Years of Customer Satisfaction*