With the expansive nature of the internet and its forever growing population, the computer has established itself as an integral component of our daily activities. Unfortunately, a lot of end users are oblivious to the many security concerns they face on their system and while on the internet. For this reason, I compiled a list of 9 top tips you can use to secure yourself from cybercriminals and the like.
- Keep Your Software Up-To-Date
Making sure that your operating system along with all the software on it is up-to-date is extremely important. You want to ensure that the latest security patches and updates are always being installed:
- To do that, Automatic Updates should be turned on.
- Go with the most popular web browsers, such as Chrome and Firefox as they are constantly being updated.
- Make sure that any plug-in you use, is not outdated.
- Consider using specialised software which can determine for you, which installed programs need to be updated.
- Protect Your Sensitive Data
All the most sensitive data on your system should be protected. For this process, there are a number of rules that you should follow, if you want to be sure that you did not fall prey to identity fraud and the like:
- Don’t leave any of your most sensitive information on your mobile device, workstation or laptop.
- Any sensitive information that you no longer require should be erased with immediate effect.
- Whenever you’re saving or moving sensitive data on your system, you should always use some form of encryption.
When it comes to encryption, you have an assortment of options to choose from. Of course, your operating system has its own built-in solution, but that may not be to your liking.
- Add Firewall and Antivirus Protection
Antivirus software is designed specifically to detect and remove malicious threats from your system. This may manifest itself in the form of a virus or some other kind of malware. Again, you may want to go with the bigger brands when it comes to choosing the right antivirus solution to invest in. This is because they are more likely to update their software and they’ll come jam-packed with many useful features.
Firewall programs on the other hand work somewhat differently. They do not attack viruses, however they do protect your system. Instead, they manage your web traffic. By determining who and what has access to your system. This way, computer hackers, in the event that they are able to get a virus onto your system, they would still, be unable to access anything on it, due to your firewall blocking their access.
- Go with Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
Multi-factor authentication works by adding an additional layer of security to an online identification or login process. It requires the end user carry out another authentication measure, in addition to the usual login username and password. This additional step could be a second password a personal identification code (PID) or a fingerprint login.
- Stay Away From Phishing Scams
Phishing scams are designed to threaten any and all activities you carry out digitally. These scammers deploy a large array of attack plans, to lure you into giving up crucial information. You want to ensure you never give out your password, banking information, personal identification or credit card details to anyone you are unfamiliar with. Such information should only go to peoples or organisations you are 100% sure on.
One thing to keep in mind is that phishing scams can be deployed in many different forms, such as via a phone call, text message, social media and of course, the most common form, via email. You just need to be extra cautious when dealing with any information you receive, especially from official looking emails, claiming that an account of yours has been suspended or you need to provide additional financial information for a particular purpose.
Every business and every individual is vulnerable to these kinds of attacks, for this reason, it becomes extremely important that the end user is aware of them, and how to spot them.
- Implement Best Password Management Protocols
Depending on how long you’ve used your system, you’ll eventually come to a point where you’ll have more passwords than you can manage. When you get to this point, you’ll want to consider using password management software, which will help you, not just generate new safe complex passwords, but also manage your old ones. These tools can also help remind you which passwords require an update and can also verify your login details automatically.
There are so many ways you can protect your confidential passwords, so I suggest you go away and do additional research on the subject.
- Use Your Mobile Device Securely
Your mobile devices are extremely versatile and of course ubiquitous especially in business and commerce, for this reason they tend to come under heavy attack. Thus, you want to do your utmost to keep yourself safe. You can do that, by carrying out the following steps:
- Ensure your mobile device is locked with a password and/or pin and never leave your device unattended.
- Install apps exclusively from trusted sources.
- Don’t open attachments or click on links from texts or emails from unknown senders.
- Keep the operating system of your device up-to-date.
- If it supports it, make sure data encryption is enabled.
- Avoid Accessing the Internet Publicly
As a precautionary measure, you may want to stay away from public Wi-Fi. If you are in a tight spot and really must, then you should only do it with a virtual private network (VPN), as this will ensure all transmitted data is encrypted. This will make it extremely difficult for your data to be compromised, as the cybercriminal, even if they are able to steal your data, because it’s encrypted, they won’t be able to read it.
- Carry out Constant Account Reviews
The last thing you want to do is carry out regular monitoring and evaluating of all your accounts. This means updating passwords when they need to be updated, and making sure none of your accounts are still logged in, when switching off your computer.
Cybersecurity is very important, as it effects everyone, which is why necessary steps should and must be taken to safeguard our systems.
Uchenna Ani-Okoye is a former IT Manager who now runs his own computer support website https://www.compuchenna.co.uk.