With the increasing penetration of the internet into our daily lives, computers have become an inherent component of our daily activities. Since most computer users are not aware of the security concerns related to computing and the internet, we are sharing 10 tips that will ensure that your computing activities stay secure.
Use highly secure passwords
One of the core pillars of cybersecurity is the usage of strong passwords. As a general practice, your passwords should consist of a complex mixture of lower and upper case alphabets, numbers, and special characters/symbols. If you use password hints, make sure that those are something that only you know of and no one else can guess them. Finally, keep changing your passwords every few months.
Implement firewall and anti-virus protection
Anti-virus software is highly effective in defeating malicious attempts on your system or details as it blocks viruses and malware from compromising your data. Remember to use anti-virus software provide only by trusted vendors and always purchase a paid license as it offers more security than the free ones.
A firewall is somewhat more complex than anti-virus software but it offers better security. Firewalls allow you to screen out viruses, hackers, and any malicious activity being attempted over the internet. It also controls the flow of web traffic in and out of your device.
Keep updating your software
One of the easiest and most common methods to maliciously access a system is to hack redundant or outdated software on the system. By regularly updating the software whenever update patches are available, you will be able to keep your system free from the vulnerabilities that can be used by hackers to gain access to the system.
Use multi-factor authentication for login access
Multi-factor authentication is used to add extra layers of security for online identification. It includes performing an additional authentication step in addition to the use of a login ID and password. This step can include a fingerprint login, a second password, or using a personal identification code.
Avoid using public internet networks
You should avoid using public internet or Wi-Fi as a general precautionary measure. If you really must use one, always access it using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) as VPN encrypts the internet traffic between the VPN server and your computer. This makes it harder for cybercriminals to access your device.
Regularly backup your data
This is one of the most overlooked aspects of secure computing as most people never back up their data. As a safeguard against the loss of personal and financial data during malware attacks, it is best to keep multiple copies of your data backed up on the cloud and local servers (hard disks).
Know how phishing scams work
Phishing scams are the top cause of security breaches worldwide with more than 30% contribution. Phishing attempts are where the receiver is tricked into disclosing their details by clicking on malicious URLs or downloading and opening an email attachment that injects malware into the receiver’s system.
Safeguard your personal identifiable information (PII)
PII is the information that can be misused by a hacker to identify you or get your location and includes information such as name, phone number, date of birth, address, IP address, social security number, or any identifying data.
Use mobile applications securely
Mobile malware has become quite prevalent and is relatively easier to use as more people are spending more time on mobile devices as compared to computers. Shared below are certain tips that will help you to keep your mobile device secure:
- Only install apps that have a trusted source of origin
- Use a mobile password that is difficult to crack. Avoid using dates or names as password
- Always install the latest OS updates on your mobile device
- Refrain from sharing PII over messaging apps
- Regularly backup the mobile device data on local storage or cloud
Do a continuous review of your accounts
The final step is to continuously monitor and evaluate your accounts. Update your passwords regularly and never keep your accounts logged in permanently.
Cybersecurity is something that affects us all and we should take proactive steps to ensure secure computing.