We always think that computer security as complicated and too technical to understand. But actually, it’s not. It is a very simple process and certain changes in our behavior on how we handle our devices make a big difference. So, here are few basic yet significant things that you should know to protect yourself from online thieves.
Enabling Automatic Updates
We have constantly encountered with security issues in all almost all the apps that we use every day. Whether it is Google Chrome, Windows, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Adobe Flash plugin the is never ending.
Most of the software and operating systems that we use these days bring forth automatic updates to fill these security gaps. you are not even required to click the update button or to download an app to upgrade the software. It will update itself automatically in the backdrop without any action from your end.
There are people who turn off these updates for one or the other reason. Maybe they don’t want their computer to restart every time the update is installed or they just don’t want any change in the way they are using it. But with Security point of view, you should turn the automatic updates ‘ON’ always.
If the automatic updates are turned off for any software previously, quickly go back and turn it on before we proceed further with preventive measures.
The best way to keep your data safe from online threats is to keep your computer updated. Microsoft offers updates on second Tuesday of every month for Windows and its associated products – Office, Defender. Apple does not have a scheduled date but, does release updates periodically. These updates not only do bug fixing but also patches security holes if any. So, the only and best way to safeguard yourself against the known/unknown danger is by upgrading. Pernicious attackers are at all times look for security holes which they can attack and a recent Zero-Day attack on Microsoft Word is a proof of it. These security updates keep you safe from these attacks.
Use Anti-Malware and Antivirus
Well, there is so many Antivirus software available in the market fighting for the top position. You’ll see every year one of the these claiming to be the best and outperformed the others.
Long story short – you need an active Antivirus on your computer no matter how careful you are on the web. And it’s up to you to use whichever you want. With regard to using free, good and easy Antivirus, there is no harm in using ‘Windows Defender’. This is inbuilt for Windows and automatically updates with Windows Update Tool. The tool is free with no visible impact on the performance of your PC. An antivirus should combine with the operating system to be effective and who else can understand Windows better than the manufacturer? Another plus point is that it doesn’t add other features or try to sell products that you don’t need.
Create Strong Passwords
We all know passwords are essential. But you may not know how essential they are. And some people are terrible when it comes to passwords. You have to understand that we are not in the bygone era of
internet where one password was used everywhere. Sites get hacked constantly. And if you are using one password across sites, you are letting hackers to access all your other accounts if one account information is leaked. You have to use different passwords for different services and they should be long.
There are a lot of third-party software available which generates manages all your passwords. You must have a password for your computer and your phone as well. This is a simple but essential way to keep your data secure. Using a password on your phone and computer will prevent random people from accessing your device.
That’s not it. Just think how easy it is to lose your laptop or phone. You sure don’t want some stranger to access your data. It is very crucial to have a password on your phone and computer.
A strong password is like a strong lock. But locks can be broken into. Turn those locks into bunkers by encryption. By encrypting your computer and phone, you prevent thieves from accessing your data by any advanced method. You can use BitLocker if you are using Windows and Mac users can turn FileVault on. Passcodes on iPhone and Android smartphones are encrypted normally, but you may check settings to be certain.
Do Not Leave Your Computer or Phone Unattended
For obvious reasons, you should never ever leave your phone or computer unattended in public places. You can Leave your unattended in your house but in a coffee shop. Doing so may lead your phone to be stolen.
If you lose your device, in the worst case you’ll be losing one of your expensive devices. But if you have lost your device without following any of the above-mentioned things, you’ll not only lose your expensive device but also all your personal and confidential data in it. Anyone with slightly above-average knowledge on computers can easily access all your information. It’s a lot easier if it isn’t encrypted.
Do Not Click Links from Phishing Emails
Do not Open emails from unknown people and don’t click on links in such mails– you might have come across this many times. But following this is not enough, you may get emails with malign links from known person who is infected or from which may appear legitimate, but are fake in real. This is called as phishing.
To be realistic, it’s not always possible not to click on the links to be secure. So, how to protect yourself? Well, you can investigate the link if it is legitimate or not and this is the only way to protecting against falling prey to these phishing emails.
To check if it is a genuine link, hover the pointer on the link, the target page should pop-up at the bottom of the browser window. If it is legitimate, the link and the destination should be same. If it isn’t the same, copy the URL by right-clicking the link and paste it on a Notepad and examine it carefully.
Be Cautious About the Software You Download
Again this too is very obvious. You think you are being careful about what you are downloading, but most of the malware attack appears to be from downloading bad software. Always download programs from their official websites and not from flashy banners that appear on the screen. If you clicking from a search engine, make sure the link leads to the right page. Also, while downloading programs, be careful
about the ad banners which are disguised as download links. These links will mislead you into downloading malign software.
And another important thing, stop running pirated software. You are taking a big risk if you get the software from shady websites.
Do Not Click Popup Notifications
Likewise, do not click on something you are not looking for. You might get some popups telling to install plugins, or update the Chrome etc. stop there when you see these notifications. This is a trick to make you install something so as to inject malware.
If you think the pop up was legitimate, still do not click on it. go to their official website, check for the latest updated and install from there. Also, do not trust websites that say it detected a virus on your computer. If there’s any such popup notification, do not click on it. As an alternative, go to ‘Start’ Menu and run the antivirus software instead.
These are very simple to follow, nothing high-tech or geeky. These small changes in your behavior can help you greatly in securing your data from cyber thieves. If there are any lapses on your part and got your system infected with the virus and lost all your valuable data, well don’t worry. There are plenty of data recovery software available out there. They help in recovering data on Windows and Mac which are virus infected, corrupted, lost or deleted. Whatever be the reason, this recovery tool does a marvelous job of retrieving the data as it was never lost.