CEO, Web Safe 101. Bestselling author and cybersecurity awareness specialist.
Cybercrime is becoming increasingly prevalent and has the potential to affect everyone from individuals to large corporations. In addition to your computer being physically stolen, you also have to worry about data breaches, malicious attacks and even identity theft. The type of computer doesn’t matter; as long as you have data, it is at risk of being stolen.
Cybersecurity also doesn’t just concern the individual; it affects everyone around them. If your computer gets infected, it’s not just your data at risk. The virus can be passed on to others and put their information at risk. Because of this, it’s integral to ensure security on both personal and work devices. The following cybersecurity tips and tricks can help you stay protected online.
There’s a reason people keep putting off the installation of software and security updates — the process is annoying and can often seem unimportant. However, this cannot be further from the truth. An updated system is a great defense against cyberattacks. In addition to improving user experience and adding new features, system updates address vulnerabilities and protect your device from hackers. In order to keep your software updated, turn on automatic updates and install them as soon as they become available.
A firewall is a security system that closes computer ports by acting as a barrier between your device and the internet. Firewalls are especially useful since they filter out viruses, malware and other threats. Most operating systems come with a built-in firewall, which you can find by accessing the Control Panel’s Security section. If you want extra protection, you can also opt to install additional firewalls. Either way, make sure to enable the firewall and keep it up to date.
Virtual private networks (VPNs) encrypt your connection and mask your IP address so that your internet service provider or anyone else cannot monitor your internet activity. One of the biggest mistakes people make is using public Wi-Fi. While this may seem convenient, it can be incredibly dangerous and can put your data at risk. Using a VPN can mitigate this risk and ensure a safe connection. Use private connections when possible, and never use public Wi-Fi without a VPN to protect you.
Anti-Virus And Anti-Malware Programs
Being online comes with inherent vulnerability to cyberattacks and viruses. The most important way to combat this is through installing anti-virus and anti-malware programs. Both free and paid services are available online. It should, however, be noted that only one anti-virus or anti-malware program should be installed on your device at a time and that these should only be downloaded from reliable and trustworthy sources.
Password Protection And Two-Factor Authentication
While using the same password for various different websites may seem convenient, it can open you up to security risks such as identity theft. Ideally, you should use unique passwords for different websites and change them every two to three months to ensure maximum security. However, different passwords can be difficult to keep track of. This is where password managers come in. Password managers can keep track of your passwords for you and can even help generate strong passwords, which can then be entered automatically.
Two-factor authentication (2FA) is another useful security method that users should take advantage of. This way, hackers cannot access your accounts even if they have your password; they will require additional verification information such as a PIN code sent to your email or mobile phone.
Accessing your computer remotely isn’t the only way hackers and other malicious parties can get a hold of your data. Physical safety is also important. The most important factor in keeping your computer physically safe is never leaving it unattended in a public area. It should be locked when not in use, even if you’re just stepping away for 10 minutes. In public settings, physical protection such as locks can be useful in keeping your computer secure and preventing theft.
Be Wary Of Links
Phishing scams, especially sextortion scams, are becoming increasingly common and can be a major security threat. In order to avoid falling victim to these scams, do not open unfamiliar links or files. Be wary of unfamiliar email addresses, and always hover over links before clicking on them.
If the worst happens and you’re the victim of a data breach, you may need to reboot your system. In this case, it’s integral to have backups so you can restore your data as soon as possible. Important data can also be stolen or lost, putting your business at risk. Frequent backups are the solution to this. Both cloud storage and physical storage should be used in order to ensure that your data is safe.
While following these tips can help you increase your level of security, they aren’t comprehensive solutions that completely eliminate the threat of data breaches and cyberattacks. When it comes to the security of your computer, proceed with caution!