People generally use computers for different purposes and though they might have heard about cybersecurity, only a small percentage among them takes it seriously.
The technically savvy crowd is fully aware of it and they do what is necessary to protect their systems, devices, and networks. However it’s the majority, whom tend to ignore security measures to keep their data and systems safe.
Often, it is the lack of knowledge and how-to of some basic tips on tech security that’s their undoing and leaves their systems less secure and ideal for hackers. So, what are the basic tech security measures one must take?
Suspect Everyone and Everything
While this may seem like scaremongering and like unusual advice, when it comes to securing your computer or your device, you must assume that your device is exposed and available for a cyber attack at any time, therefore take the necessary precautions accordingly.
If you have a few email accounts or just one, whenever you open the inbox, don’t click on any messages until you are sure of who has sent you the email. If it is an unknown person, simply delete the message right there without even opening it. Now, even if you know the person but the email has come with an attachment which has an abnormal extension or a strange filename, don’t download it. Always be aware of the potential for phishing scams to affect you-anyone can be a target for malicious emails.
Install a Good Antivirus/Anti-Malware Package. You might be hearing about/reading this for the umpteenth time, but it’s worth repeating that antivirus and anti-malware programs can be a lifesaver for your online security. This is a basic security requirement and in the absence of such a program, your computer or tablet or mobile phone could be at risk.
Choose a Strong Password. As mentioned, these tips are basics within the security environment and many might appear to be repeatedly said. Many utilities try and add a feature where the computer will tell you how strong or weak your password is. The password has to be long and a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols.
Cybersecurity experts have done extensive research and based on their findings, these tips are provided. There are dedicated password sites which can guide you in creating an exclusive password that hackers cannot easily break.
Create Backups. You might be creating a lot of files in the course of your work and saving them somewhere. These could be text files, images or other data. Wherever you choose to save them, retain a copy elsewhere, preferably away from the system-like in an external hard disk, for example. This way you can limit the loss or harm you face even in the event of a hack.
Beware of Public Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi connected devices are said to be vulnerable mainly due to the source being the weak link. Public Wi-Fi networks, such as those offered in restaurants or airports, are generally considered ripe for security risks due to the fact that they aren’t password protected, leaving them open to breaches by anyone in the vicinity with malicious intentions. That’s why you should avoid using public Wi-Fi networks as much as possible.
The safer alternative is to use a Virtual Private Network. You can subscribe to a VPN service to be used at home or remotely. A separate tip: If you’re using your own private home Wi-Fi network, it’s important to update your passwords relatively frequently.
Data encryption is a much easier option now than it was a few years ago. You have the option of storing all data on your device in encrypted form or in a cloud system, which also typically has encryption facilities. You have to decrypt whenever you need it and use the data.
Get a Password Manager. Password managers are free or subscription-based tools that help you remember your passwords. The password manager will help with remembering all your passwords and keep it in a hidden format. To open it you will need an authentication.
Anyone else trying to steal your password will need that authentication as well, and that’s how security is ensured.
Some of the most popular password managers are Dashlane, LastPass and 1Password.
Think safety first when using email, WiFi and ideally use a VPN. Keep your systems up-to-date. Your systems, your browser, your apps and your antivirus package all updated. Most of these applications may update themselves automatically but if you receive an alert, immediately accept the update from the program’s developers.
Article: Our thanks goes out to Sophie who is a marketing specialist at Security Gladiators. A writer by day and a reader by night, she is specialized in tech and cybersecurity. When she is not behind the screen, Sophie can be found playing with her dog. 🙂