10 Tips for Secure Computing

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With the increasing popularity of the internet, with more and more people being plugged in, this has led to computers becoming an integral aspect of our day to day activities. Unfortunately, a large number of computer users are almost completely oblivious to the many risks that exist when using their system to browse the internet. 

This brings us to this article, where I have decided to share 10 tips that you can use to keep your system secure.

 

  1. Use Both Antivirus & Firewall Protection

Antivirus software is here to effectively tackle malicious attempts on your system, as it blocks malware and other virus types from infiltrating and compromising your data. It’s always best to go with antivirus software from the most trusted brands, and also go with a paid solution, as they tend to offer more, in way of features. 

A firewall program on the other hand, is similar, but different from an antivirus tool. Both of which, provide protection for your system, however the firewall allows you to block hackers, viruses and other malicious activity from your system. It allows you to control your own web traffic, so you can determine what comes in and what comes out. 

  1. Update Your Antivirus Software

No matter how good your antivirus solution is, it’s of no use to you, if it goes out of data. New malicious threats emerge, literally, every single day, every hour of the day, all of which are designed to get around internet security solutions. Most antivirus tools, have some kind of online update facilities. Make sure it’s enabled. 

  1. Avoid Phishing Scams  

Phishing scams are here to threaten your daily digital activities. Computer hackers who use these methods, will deploy a wide range of techniques to trick the victim into giving up sensitive information. For this reason, you never want to give out your ID, passwords, credit card details or banking information to anyone you aren’t 100% sure on. 

Remember, these phishing scams exist in many different forms, including phone calls, text messages, social media communications and the most common of all, email. If you encounter anything that doesn’t look completely legitimate, then your guard should be up, especially if they’re requesting financial or personal information. 

All industries are essentially vulnerable to these kinds of attacks, which makes it increasingly more important that you are able to identify these kinds of scams, if you want to be safe. 

  1. Regular Backups

This is a very important activity, though heavily overlooked in the arena of computer security. If you want to safeguard your personal and/or financial data from loss during a malicious attack, then you’ll want to have multiple instances or copies of your data in multiple areas. Whether it be on an external hard drive or cloud service. 

  1. Effective Password Management

If you’ve been using your system for any real length of time, then you’d almost certainly have accumulated a large number of passwords. For many of us, we opt to use the same password across multiple accounts. However, when it comes to best practices, it’s always best to go with a good password manager tool, which can help you create and maintain strong passwords. These programs are also capable of reminding you when you need to update your password, while verifying your credentials. 

If you haven’t used a password manager tool before, then I suggest you give it a look in, as it can safe you tons, in the long run. 

  1. Continuously Review Your Accounts

Another crucial step of securing your system is to continuously evaluate and monitor your accounts. Never keep your passwords always logged in, and update your passwords on a regular basis. 

Cybersecurity is something we should all, at the very least, have a grasp of, if we want to keep our systems secure. 

  1. Be Mindful OF What You Click On

Avoid downloading tools and programs from untrusted sources. You may also want to avoid websites from unfamiliar neighbourhoods. Even programs that appear “good” at first glance, can turn out to be or have malicious code, embedded into them. Once these malicious files get onto your computer, they can cause a whole host of problems for you.

There are a number of add-ons or plugins that you can add to your browser, such as Click-To-Play or NoScript that can help you avoid downloading malware while stopping plug-ins from randomly installing themselves to your browser. 

  1. Update Your Software

One of the more common and easiest methods cybercriminals use to gain access to a system is to hack into outdated or redundant software installed on your system. By ensuring all your software is kept up-to-date with the latest patches, as and when they’re made available, you can rest assured that it will keep your system free from the more common vulnerabilities, that a hacker may want to use, to illegally access your system. 

  1. Protect Your Devices

When it comes to cyber security, the physical security of your devices is equally as important as its digital security. 

If your phone, laptop or mobile device is going to be left unattended and unused for any real length of time, then it’s important you lock it up, as this ensures no unauthorised access. 

If you have protected data kept on an external hard drive or flash drive, then you’ll want to ensure it is encrypted and password-protected at the very least. When it comes to your desktop machine, then make sure to shut it down, when not using it, or you can either lock the screen or use a screen saver. 

  1. Stay Informed

Depending on the operating system you’re running, it makes sense for you to stay current on new developments for Linux, UNIX and Windows. There are many websites, and services that you can subscribe to, for this kind of information. For example, IS&T provides news pages and recommendations, for those who subscribe to their mailing list. So I’d have to recommend you give them a try. 

Alternatively, you could simply carry out your own independent, manual research from time to time. 

 

–AUTHOR INFO—

Uchenna Ani-Okoye is a former IT Manager who now runs his own computer support website https://www.compuchenna.co.uk.

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