From storing family photos to logging on to work to buying things and booking flights – computers are a massive part of our daily lives. But sadly, they’re also a security risk.
Cybercriminals are always trying to infiltrate our PCs and steal our personal information. We must stay on top of cybersecurity to protect ourselves.
In this article, we’re highlighting the do’s and Don’ts of computer safety in 2023.
The Do’s: 5 Things to Improve Computer Safety Here are some of the best tools and tricks to keep your information safe and secure:
1. Install Antivirus Software
Antivirus software is one of the best ways to defend your computer against cybercrime. Not only will it scan files for viruses, but it will also block and quarantine any malicious content from infecting your PC in the future.
If you’re about to visit a suspicious website, download an unverified file, or insert a potentially infected USB, the best antivirus software will flag these risks and work towards protecting you.
2. Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
2FA is now a standard security feature for sensitive information, such as online banking and government-issued websites. But it can also help protect your home PC from cyber criminals.
It works by asking you to verify your identity twice upon login. This is often through a single-use text message or email code. 2FA can help keep your PC safe because even if your initial login is compromised, the hacker will need access to a second code to infiltrate your computer.
A virtual private network, or VPN, is one of the best cybersecurity tools. It works by disguising your IP address and encrypting your online activity, meaning hackers won’t be able to intercept your data.
With a VPN, you can log in anywhere, including a public Wi-Fi network, with great peace of mind that no prying eyes are watching your screen and logging your activity.
Moreover, many of the best VPNs now come with additional security features, such as the ability to scan files for viruses, that can help bolster your computer’s defenses against an incoming cyberattack.
4. Better, Stronger Passwords
Passwords are a huge part of cybersecurity. Strong passwords can help prevent your computer or accounts from being compromised in the first place.
Some password creation tips include using a password with at least 6 to 12 characters, with a combination of numbers, symbols, and upper and lowercase letters.
Never use passwords for multiple accounts; instead, consider using a password manager to keep track of them, which stores passwords securely and enters them automatically into websites.
5. Regular Updates
Even if your computer is relatively new, it must be updated constantly to protect itself from modern-day hacks. That’s because hackers develop new viruses to exploit old vulnerabilities – and if you don’t patch your computer, it could be exposed.
Regularly check for security patches to install on your computer. You should also update all of your software, including your browser and antivirus software, to avail of the latest protections.
Also read:- Different types of viruses
The Don’ts: 5 Things to Avoid With Computer Safety
Of course, there are also a few things you should avoid to maintain your computer safety
1. Avoid Clicking on Suspicious Links
The phrase ‘curiosity killed the cat’ rings true for cybersecurity. If you’ve been sent an unknown file, an email attachment, or a suspicious-looking URL, avoid interacting with it.
Even clicking on a link can be enough to compromise your machine. Often, these scam messages will impersonate critical services like your bank, asking you to log in to fix an account abnormality.
But you’ll be redirected to a fraudulent website that skims your login details. Contact your service about the email to verify its legitimacy if in doubt.
2. Be Wary of Inserting Unknown USBs And Flash Drives
Nowadays, people regularly backup their files on devices for storage or to transfer to co-workers, friends, or even between computers at home.
But this practice can be pretty dangerous for your computer’s safety. Don’t assume a storage device is clean, even if the device is from a friend. It may unknowingly contain malicious files that can infect your computer.
3. Don’t Post Sensitive Information Online
Hackers often check social media to see what personal information they can gather about their victims to construct believable phishing attacks on a person or break weak passwords.
Avoid posting personal information that’s easily found online. Check your social media and remove information such as email addresses, occupation and education, home addresses, and phone numbers. This will reduce the likelihood of scam emails, thus protecting your computer.
4. Don’t Leave Devices Connected
You should never leave a piece of equipment, such as a microphone or webcam, plugged into your computer if it’s not in use. This is because many hackers now target these gadgets to spy on victims to gain intel.
In some instances, hackers might gain access to your webcam to see what you’re doing or listen to your keystrokes via a microphone. Put simply, if it’s not in use, plug it out!
5. Don’t Forget About Physical Security
Finally, a common threat that many people overlook is the physical nature of cybercrime – leaving personal information, logins, and access to your computer open to passersby.
If you need to leave your computer briefly, log off from your system beforehand. Never leave your screen idle.
Logging off or shutting down prevents a person from reading your screen, sitting down quickly to access files, or tampering with your account while you’re away. And as always, keep external hardware, such as flash drives and USBs, safe and securely on your person when not in use.
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