By now you probably have a household of devices. Perhaps, you now have a desktop, laptop, smartphone, and tablet. In fact, you may have come to take your tech’s many marvels for granted.
It’s now easy it is to email your family, friends, and colleagues. It’s easy to use instant messaging when you don’t or won’t to get entangled in a long-drawn out telephone conversation. It’s easy to do all your banking online without having to get someone on the phone or go to the bank to figure out your balance.
And, of course, communication is a breeze. You don’t even have to memorize addresses and phone numbers because they are on your smartphone. Nor do you have to look up account numbers, usernames, and passwords because you have got it all stored in a file on your computers.
But there is a dark side to the ease and convenience that comes from living in a highly-interconnected and well-coordinated digital lifestyle. The dark side is malicious intent by people you don’t know. These strangers enjoy the digital lifestyle as much as you do, but who malignantly use it to steal identities and sensitive financial information for a profit.
What can you do to protect your computer and devices from criminals who lurk online?
Here are a dozen ideas to keep you safe:
Use encryption to protect your sensitive information. An encrypted USB memory flash drive works with almost any device with a USB or USB OTG port. For instance, it will work with your smartphone and tablet, and with your Google Chromebook, laptop, notebook, or desktop. It will also work with your clients and printers and scanners and CCTV cameras. Moreover, they are compatible with all OS and Mac, Windows, Mac, Chrome, Linux, Android and embedded systems. You can put this flash drive to encrypt every file on a drive with AES 256 Bit Encryption. You could, for example, use it for automatic data backup to a cloud account or save data locally and restore it from the cloud anywhere.
Prefer full-spectrum security software over bare minimum security software. When it comes to PC security, you need comprehensive security software that has multi-faceted functionality. Choose a trusted brand that can protect your computers and devices from identity theft, phishing scams, spam mail, hackers, adware, spyware, and all known types of viruses.
Use a firewall when accessing the Internet. Don’t just access the Internet directly; access it from behind a firewall. This creates an additional layer of security between your device and the Internet. You want to stop a hacker from hijacking your computer to attack other computers, destroy your files, or steal your identity.
If you are not using your own device, use a secure PC when accessing sensitive information. If you are not at home and need to use another PC, say your office PC, to access your sensitive personal information online, then make sure that PC is a secure one. You don’t want to be checking out your bank account balance on an unsecured Internet connection. It’s not enough to be informed that the PC has anti-virus software. It may only have the bare minimum protection. Only use a PC that has comprehensive security.
Educate yourself on phishing. Cybercriminals have found it easier to trick people into revealing logins to website accounts then it is to break into their computers. The most common con-game is called a phishing scam, and it comes in a variety of flavors. The basic technique is to masquerade as a legitimate business through the use of fake emails and fraudulent websites. Although you may have excellent PC security, the software can’t prevent human error. By visiting a fraudulent website from a link in an email and logging in, you are making your account accessible to software that is recording your username and password. It’s a little like handing the keys to your car to a car thief. It doesn’t matter if you had securely locked your car before you handed over the keys. No legitimate business will ever send you an email to ask you to fix a problem by logging into your account information. Nor will they send you an email to verify your password. Since people are getting smarter about phishing emails.
Be wary of free software offered online. While, of course, not all free software is dangerous, it’s important to be aware that some might be. The most common type of freeware that is not as harmless as it seems are those that offer productivity features or that promise to help you run your PC better. Essentially, these are bait to tempt you to download potentially unwanted programs (PUPs) onto your PC. While you may get the freebie promised, you also end up unwittingly downloading spyware or adware.
Get expert help if you don’t understand how to secure your PC and devices. If you are not a technical person, then you might be reluctant to try out many effective ways to safeguard your PC because you don’t know how to do it. Don’t let this stop you. Get help from a tech-savvy friend or take your PC or devices to a computer repair service to get the expert help you need.
While it’s distressing to think about the dark side of the Internet, ignorance is not bliss. Inform yourself on what you need to do to stay safe online.
This post was written by Laura Johnson, if you would like to write for us then please visit our write for us page and view or guest post guidelines.