If you’ve been following the news lately, not a day goes by without some cyber attacks and hackers. If computer security problems can shut down Amazon or PayPal, they can disrupt any company in the world. Or your personal computer, for that matter.
In plenty of cases, such unpleasant situations can be avoided by following basic computer security advice. It’s not that hard to install an antivirus program or use a password manager, after all. In fact, it’s because it’s so easy that people neglect to do it.
Let’s have a closer look at the most common computer security problems and how you can deal with them.
Many people do not use antivirus software on their computers because they’re afraid it will slow them down. Others just don’t understand the risks. The irony is that at some point, their computer will indeed start to act weird and incredibly slow.
All because their computer is crawling with viruses and malware. This can cause data breaches, or you can lose access to your computer following a ransomware attack.
The solution is simple. Install a reputable antivirus program on your personal or office computer and make sure to update it regularly.
Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks are also a common problem for computer users today. This type of attack is carried on by so-called botnets.
These are computers infected with malicious software directing them to target a specific website. The target is basically inundated with access requests until its servers crash.
You may not stop DDoS attacks. But you can make yourself a less likely target by encrypting your connection and masking your IP. A VPN can help with this.
When it comes to office computers, you can also use predictive analytics software. This type of software can identify an ongoing attack and divert traffic to keep the servers from crashing. You should also backup your essential data frequently, just to be safe if the servers do crash.
This is just as basic a security measure as installing an antivirus on your computer. There are hardware firewalls and software firewalls. Both do the same thing, protecting your computer against outside attacks.
A firewall can keep your computer safe by eliminating unnecessary traffic and blocking malicious code. Many operating systems come with one preinstalled.
This might not always be necessary for your personal computer, but locks are essential in an office setting.
You cannot be at your desk all day, can you? When you step away, your computer is virtually defenceless without a screen lock. While you’re on your coffee break, someone might access your computer and steal important data.
Putting a lock on your screen is not such a drag. Typing your password every time when you want to wake up your computer easily becomes an automatic process.
Just make sure to use a strong password. Not something easy to guess like your birthday or your wife’s name!
Speaking of passwords, you don’t want to use the same password across your various online accounts and devices. Not even if it’s a really strong one.
There have been many scandals involving stolen passwords lately. You cannot risk someone getting access to your office computer or the bank information on your home computer.
A password generator prompts you to use computer-generated passwords, which are much harder to guess. And don’t worry, you won’t have to remember that long password, the password manager saves it for you.
When you log in to an account, you’re usually asked to provide your username and password. But that’s very risky in terms of online security. This system is rapidly becoming obsolete and more and more websites require two-factor authentication.
On top of the username/password feature, there’s a second security layer. This can ask you to use a Personal Identification Number (PIN) or another authentication method. More advanced devices use fingerprints as part of their authentication process.
It might seem more of a hassle, but it’s necessary to protect your bank accounts and other sensitive data.
How many times have you been warned by your bank to keep an eye out for phishing scams? This type of attack has been around for years. It’s still a successful business for hackers because people don’t understand the dangers until they’re scammed.
Phishing scams use emails that look almost like a genuine message from a legitimate company. Most often, you’re asked to divulge sensitive information, especially related to your bank accounts.
No software can protect you from a phishing scam. Just use your common sense and don’t click on every link you receive. Also, never share sensitive information no matter how convincing the email might sound.
No matter how hard you try to protect your computer, you’re never truly safe. The bad guys come up with new viruses, malware, and online scams every day. You never know when you’ll fall for something.
Just as people buy health or life insurance, there’s now cyber insurance to compensate for losses generated by cyberattacks. This type of insurance is available for both personal and enterprise use, and it’s big business at the moment. And it makes sense since most of your life already takes place online. You need to protect that just as you protect your real one.