If you’re on the internet or if your system is connected to the internet in any way, it’s very important that you are aware of the many risks posed by cyber criminals. Computer security, which is also known as IT Security and Cyber Security, is the protection of our computer systems from damage and/or theft of software, hardware and the information that exists on them, as well as protection from the disruption of a provided service.
In short, IT security encompasses the protection of our data, such as databases and other things, from unauthorised and unwanted attacks.
There are a number of basic things that every end user should be aware of, in order to ensure the security of their data. Below are 8 tips that could very well help you.
1. Be Mindful of Social Engineering Attacks
Social engineering attacks are the most common kinds of attacks nowadays, as hackers and thieves are able to access your most confidential data, either through phishing, mimicking you at a company or some other strategy. You need to be mindful of suspicious emails, phone calls, links and other means of communication. Most data breaches happen from within, so that’s another thing you should be aware of. Even the best of us are tricked or hacked, which is why it’s increasingly important that you have some knowledge on the subject.
2. Use Internet Security Software
You’ll want to download all the various security programs, such as antimalware, antivirus, antispyware and a firewall to protect your system. There are many antimalware tools out there such as Spyhunter and Malwarebytes; I say you invest in at least one of them, as they tend to be very proficient at detecting and eliminating malicious files.
3. Avoid Open WiFi
One thing you do not want to do is use an open WiFi, this is because it makes it easier for hackers to hijack your connection and download files off your system. You want to protect your WiFi network with an encrypted password, you should also run maintenance checks and change your password every couple of years. Some routers have exploits that a manufacturer may never fix, thus, you should definitely consider buying a new router as your current one starts to age.
Some of these newer routers are capable of providing guests with their own access to a wireless network, and also make it much easier for you to change passwords.
4. Use Two-Factor Verification
With two-factor authentication you get an additional layer of security which protects you in the event that someone acquires your passwords. Wherever you see this feature, you’ll want to utilise it. Additionally, if you were to lose your phone (which is the authentication device most often used), it’s still possible for you to access your account, providing you have countermeasures in place.
5. Use Password Managers
Remembering every single password you have for all of your accounts on all the different websites can be very difficult. This is where password managers are most handy. When acquiring a password manager tool, you want to consider convenience and security, in additional to other features that you think may be helpful.
6. Review Your App Permissions
You want to be mindful to ensure that your software is always up-to-date, in addition to everything else I’ve recommended. You want to ensure that your router firmware for example is the most recent, and that your app permissions are regularly reviewed on sites such as Google, Facebook and Twitter. Sites like MyPermissions are specifically designed for this task. In some rare cases you may even be rewarded as some sites and services will offer perks which you would otherwise not see or use if you didn’t do a security check-up.
7. Surf and Email Securely
There are millions of phishing campaigns out there; these hackers have developed tons of different ways of extracting money from you. Before you click on a link, its best practice for you to hover over the link, that way you can determine where the link leads. You want to know whether the email is really from the person it claims that it’s from. If you can’t be totally sure, then there are things within the email that may give it away, such as formatting and the construction of the email. If you’re still unconvinced, then you should try searching on the subject line of your email, if other people have received the same email, then you know it’s a fake!
8. Keep Confidential Data off The Cloud
No matter how you decide to look at it, data kept on a cloud, in essence, doesn’t belong to you. Most of these cloud storage services do not offer any form of encryption for the data they keep, so you want to do your due diligence and only patronise the very best services.
Uchenna Ani-Okoye is a former IT Manager who now runs his own computer support website where he writes about computer related topics.