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The increasing number of cyber attacks and information theft happening today means only one thing: you need to start taking computer and information security more seriously. Relying on a simple antivirus program and expecting your data to be safe from attackers is not the way to go.
Businesses and enterprises have long used advanced security measures. Even students studying computer science at top universities such as the NJIT Online can now choose cybersecurity as a module due to the growing need for experienced personnel. For personal users and beginners, these next five tips and tricks will help you start securing your computer right away.
Stay Up to Date
Make sure your operating system and all the software and apps you use are up to date. Security patches are being released by Microsoft, Adobe, Google, Apple, and other tech companies on a regular basis. In the case of the latest security hole in processors, for example, tech companies released their own patches in a matter of days.
Updating your system also helps eliminate unnecessary threats. You can deploy the right security measures to better protect your computer.
Use Security Apps
There are basically two things you need to have to start securing your computer: a good firewall and an antivirus or anti-malware software. Both Windows and macOS come with built-in firewalls, plus it is easy to find a third-party solution that offers sufficient protection.
Choosing an antivirus or anti-malware software is trickier, but you can always turn to reviews and comparison tools to find the right solution for your specific needs. Companies like Symantec and Eset also make comprehensive security apps that do everything once installed.
Know What You Access
The majority of attacks start with you (unknowingly) installing a software or a plugin, or clicking on a malicious URL that arrives via email or social media. Knowing what you should not access eliminates the majority of these attacks instantly.
Learn to identify phishing sites and malicious URLs. Alternatively, you can use an anti-malware software with real-time scanning and browser protection. This will also prevent attacks such as adware or ransomware from infecting your computer.
Be Wise with Your Credentials
Another common entry point for cyber attacks is the weak password you use to secure your accounts. Using one (relatively strong) password for every account (i.e. email, social media, forums, gaming, etc.) is already dangerous enough; using one weak password for everything is asking for trouble.
Experts at the New Jersey Institute of Technology suggest using one common phrase and a system to add variation to the passwords. This way, you can remember multiple passwords easily and still have a strong set of passwords protecting your accounts.
You Are a Target
Lastly, understand that you are a target of cyber attacks. No one is too insignificant to target in today’s modern world. Your personal details, financial information, and other data are all just as valuable as those of celebrities and rich people.
Cover these basics and you now have the basic computer security measures protecting your digital life. To learn more about how you can further secure your computer and digital information, stay tuned for updates here on The VCG.