Nowadays, there are a lot more people using their computers and accessing the Internet than ever before. Especially with the pandemic, more and more are going online. These uses may vary, ranging from simple chatting to online banking, investing, shopping, and much, much more. As we do these things on a more regular basis, we open ourselves up to new threats, such as corporate hackers, server attackers, identity thieves, software pirates, and a whole bevy of other threats. While some may be looking to simply phish your personal information and identity for resale, others simply just want to use your computer as a platform from which to attack other unknowing targets (DDOS attacks).
Here are a few simple steps that you can take to ensure the security of your computer with the ever-changing cyber threats:
- Create backups of important information as much as possible, and store these in safe places separate from your computers, such as an external drive, a USB, or cloud storage.
- Always ensure that your operating system is up to date through downloading updates and patches. Do the same with similar frequency to your web browser and software.
- Set up a firewall as soon as possible. When you don’t have a good firewall set up, or worse, have no firewall at all; viruses, worms, Trojans, malware, adware, spyware, and many other malicious programs can all easily access and tamper with your computer from the Internet. One should carefully consider the various benefits and differences between hardware and software-based firewall programs.
- Cookies may be relatively harmless in most security concerns. However, they still track your movements on the Internet to build a profile of you, and these can be collected by malicious software and websites. You should be setting your security settings at the minimum to high for sites you’re visiting for the first time and medium-low for sites you can trust. Clear your cookies regularly if you want to be safe.
- Start installing antivirus software. A few suggestions would be Trend Micro Maximum Security for Home or try their other free tools and among many others. You should also set these up for automatic updates to receive the most current versions and ensure maximum protection.
- If an email is from an unknown sender, it would be wise not to open it. It is also not enough to recognize the address from which it originates, as many viruses can spread from a familiar address.
- It would be best if you did not run unknown programs, even less so when they’re from unknown origins. You shouldn’t send these types of programs to friends and coworkers either for whatever reason, as these might contain a Trojan virus waiting to infect a computer and spread elsewhere.
- Hidden filename extensions should be disabled immediately. Although the Windows operating system is set to “Hide file extensions for known file types,” some files will remain hidden by default. What seems to be a .exe file with a familiar logo could be a .bat file instead with malicious programming.
- When not using the computer, you should be turning them off, or if you need to use it later, disconnect it from the network. Hackers cannot attack any computer if it’s disconnected from the network or if the computer is off.
- You should have a boot disk on an external drive or a USB in the worst case that your computer is damaged or compromised by malicious programs. Of course, this step should be taken before you experience a hostile breach of your system. A boot disk is essentially having a clean copy of your OS on another drive and having the computer boot up from that instead of a compromised one.
Learn about cybersecurity in this digital age as the country’s premier cybersecurity event goes virtual. DECODE 2020 will be on November 10-12 with the theme “ELEVATE! Transform Rapidly, Seamlessly, Securely.” Tracks about Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Data Protection, and Privacy, and more will be presented by renowned industry experts from around the world.
DECODE 2020 is an annual conference organized by Trend Micro Inc, a global leader in cybersecurity. To know more about this event and to secure your slot for free, visit https://decodeph.com