Hackers take advantage of those who neglect cybersecurity, stealing everything they worked hard for but didn’t secure properly. Are you an easy target? Don’t be with these 5 security tips.
1. Install Security Software
The most important habit for good online security is to use strong security software. Good security software stops most attacks before they can even start, but great security software goes beyond that with other features that keep you safe.
Of course, while great security software will protect you against most threats, there are still some things you can do to help out. Whether the virus is in a download, email or coming at you online, security software can detect and block it.
Windows already has built-in virus protection with Windows Defender while Google scans malicious files and apps on Android with Google Play Protect. There are plenty of free and paid third-party security software programs for both Mac and Windows, too. Avast and Malwarebytes are popular because, well, they’re free.
2. Keep Software Up-to-Date
If you want to keep your computer safe and get the latest features, which you do, it’s important to install the updates as soon as you can especially if they’re aiming to fix security bugs and issues. Keep all your apps, smart appliances and even your router updated with the latest patches and firmware too.
There’s an important term in computer security you need to know called a “zero-day exploit.” Zero-day exploits are some of the biggest threats developers face. The term “zero-day exploit” is just a fancy way of describing exploits that are discovered and abused by hackers before the software company has time to issue a patch.
If hackers can find a zero-day flaw in a program, they can use it to attack computers until the software developer finds the flaw and updates the program. These types of flaws pop up regularly in major software like Windows and other Microsoft programs, web browsers, Adobe programs and Java.
Zero-day flaws often let hackers get around your security software with no input from you. Obviously, it’s important to update these programs, and any other programs you use, whenever patches are available.
3. Create Strong Passwords & Security Questions
Securing your online accounts is just as important as securing your Windows account. The first step is to have a strong password and security question.
When you’re creating an online account, you might be in the habit of rushing to get through the process so you can start using the site. That’s why many people use weak passwords like “password” or “123456,” or reuse passwords from other accounts.
Both of these make you unsafe. Hackers can guess an easy password in minutes. If you reuse passwords and they get your password in a data breach then they can get into all your accounts without a problem.
That’s why you need to get into the habit of creating unique, complex passwords. These take more time to create, but they keep your information safe. Of course, you also need a good way to remember them.
We recommend using a password manager. This can store all your passwords behind a single master password. That way you can have dozens of complex passwords and only have to remember one. Most password managers can also help you create strong passwords.
4. Be Slow to Click
One of the biggest threats out there is phishing scams. These are deceptive emails and text messages that trick you into clicking on a link to a malicious site or downloading malicious attachments.
There are many phishing scam tactics, but they all rely on you clicking before you have a chance to really think things through. A phishing scammight say there’s a problem with your Amazon account and you need to click fast to clear it up. Or maybe it says you can win a free iPad if you sign up immediately.
Taking a second to think is usually enough time to unravel the scam. You might notice a fishy email address or horrible spelling and grammar, or just remember our advice to never click on links in unsolicited emails.
That’s why you should make a habit of waiting a second or two before clicking any link. Use that second to confirm that nothing is out of the ordinary. And if you click the link and are presented with something else to click, take another second to really look at that as well.
While this will add a few seconds to each email, it’s worth it when you easily avoid the next phishing email to roll around.
5. Freeze Your Credit
If you suspect that your identity has been compromised, here’s one essential step you must take to stop criminals from opening credit card accounts under your name.
Locking up your credit reports will prevent identity thieves from opening new accounts under your name even when they have managed to steal your personal information. Since lenders are required to check your credit report before they can approve a new application, a credit freeze can stop fraudulent accounts from being made at your expense.
Navarro, Francis. (2019, January 22). 7 signs your computer has been hacked. Kim Komando.