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We tend to think of hackers as loners but the reality is that cybercrime is an advanced and collaborative ecosystem. Hackers can have many motives, ranging from economic gain to political goals. Knowing what hackers are after can help you spot attacks and put in place security measures to protect your enterprises.

Some hackers make use of their skills for good, by spotting security holes and reporting them to fix them. These hackers are known as white hat hackers, and they’re typically paid by the businesses they work for to carry out penetration tests. Others hackers have more sinister motives, such as taking personal information to commit identity theft, or using viruses to make unauthorised charges or cause attacks on service (which can shut down devices).

A secure password is the primary line of defense in the fight against hackers. The addition of two-factor verification on sites such as social media and banking can increase your security. Encrypting your hard drive is a easy way to stop hackers from gaining access to your private data, even if they successfully break into your device. Update your operating system, browsers, and important apps regularly. Most devices update automatically that can fix flaws in software that could allow hackers to view and steal data.

We live in an interconnected world where our smartphones, laptops and tablets, as well as computers are always online. Hackers are seeking information that you divulge online. It is tempting to let down your guard and share too much. To ensure your data is secure do not shop or use your personal accounts through public Wi-Fi, and don’t leave any account open all the time.