Technology is advancing faster than we can cope with. Many new devices in today’s market bring the convenience of our digital life within our fingertips. However, if we do not factor in security as a critical part of using technology, the consequences that result from ignored security risks will outweigh its convenience.
The increasing use of computing devices of all shapes and sizes comes with the unintended effect of growing cyber-crime. So how can you protect your data?
Here are a few things that can help:
- Control your data: Do not put everything about yourself on social networks like Facebook. Your personal information can be easily used against you in hacking or in scams using Social Engineering tactics. These days it might not be a bad idea to use services like Lifelock, since even big companies are not immune to hacking. So, being able to monitor your personal information can be a life saver in this digital age.
- >Use different passwords: Using the same password can make it easy for a hacker to access your accounts once they have cracked your password. It is good practice to use different and secure passwords for your important online accounts.
- Keep your computer updated: Updates provide general fixes for security vulnerabilities. The most critical programs to update are your Anti-virus, Windows, Java and Adobe Flash. Please note: Only do these updates manually, (if you know how), or when your computer prompts you. Do not click on “update prompts” from websites, as those could be fake and malicious.
- Tech support frauds / remote access: Unless you know who is on the other side of the phone line, granting remote access to your computer to a stranger is a big security risk! It never ends well. The damage ranges from spyware on your computer, to wiped bank accounts. No joke, I have seen it! Attacks of this nature are often untraceable and difficult to solve. You are better off with local computer service that you can put a face to.
- Look over your emails carefully: One of the biggest frauds going on is that scammers are sending out official looking emails claiming to be the USPS, FEDEX, UPS or DHL with a link to check the status of your package. Once you click the link a virus could encrypt your files, or spyware gets on your computer. The scammers send out these emails in hopes that the recipient is expecting a package.
If you ever get one of these emails and you are really expecting a package, hover over the link and you will see where the link will take you without clicking it. That could save you some headaches. If your anti-virus has an email scanner it can usually detect malicious links and attachments. But, if not, you have to do the extra work. If that is the case, I highly recommend that you get an anti-virus with an email scanner like AVG.
- Do it yourself, or not do it yourself? It really depends on how much you know. Knowing enough to be dangerous can be dangerous for your computer. So, before you download that amazing program that is going to “fix” all your computer problems in one click, call a pro! You will be glad you did!
- Remember to back up your computer: Computers are easy to replace, but data is not. So remember to back up your irreplaceable documents, pictures, and music and video collections.
- Take action if your computer is slow: A slow computer could be a sign of either malicious software or imminent hardware failure. If your computer is running slower than usual, have it checked out for viruses or hardware problems.
- Do regular tune-ups and cleanups: Computers build up junk over time. The file system and file structure of any computer needs a little TLC every now and again to keep things running sooth.
A tune-up once every year or every 6 months, (depending on the user and usage), can help to extend the life of your PC.
Hope these tips will help you fortify security for your computer. If you know someone who could benefit from these tips, feel free to share this article. Thank you!