The internet is getting more convenient than ever with online shopping, news, games and social media. With all these attractive incentives to be online, there is an ever increasing risk of hackers and other malicious activity.
So we at Advanced Computers put together a short list to ensure you can stay safe online.
1. Use Strong Passwords
While this is one of the common recommendations, it still holds true. Make sure your personal computer has a password with your username.
The reason everyone recommends a strong password is because it is your first line of defense against brute force hacking attempts (i.e. mass trial and error until they get it right) and it also makes it difficult anyone looking over your shoulder to steal your password.
Here are some guidelines for a strong password:
- More than 10 characters
- Use a mix of Upper and Lower Case
- Use numbers and special characters like !@#$%
- Don’t use easy-to-guess phrases like your name, date of birth or phone number
2. Don’t Click On Unfamiliar Links And Double-Check URLs
Always make sure you know the person who sent the email, before clicking on any links inside it. Even if you know the person (e.g. family or friends), always double check the link you’re clicking.
An easy way to check a link is to simply right click the link, then select “Copy Link Address,” then paste it into Notepad or another simple word processor. Then you’ll be able to see the link address in the word processor. If the link looks suspicious, don’t click it! Why not try it with this link now?
Also be wary of pop-up ads that “claim” your computer has errors and that you need to install their software to fix it.
Furthermore, make sure to double check the URL and be wary of “spoofed” websites (sites that pretend to be a trusted website by having a similar URL address)
3. Keep Your Anti-virus System Up To Date
If you don’t have an anti-virus system, it goes without saying that you should install one. Avast, Kaspersky and BitDefender are some of the best free anti-virus software you can use.
When your anti-virus software asks you to update it, make sure you do to ensure protection against the latest malware.
4. Back Up Your Data Often
You can either back up your data on an external hard drive or a cloud service like Google Drive or Dropbox. Both give you free options (limited storage) that allow you to save your most important data.
You might remember the ransom-ware that ran amok a few months ago.
Getting your important data backed up is one the key ways to prevent being held hostage by ransom-ware.
5. Have a Recovery System in Place
Creating a recovery point on your Operating System is always good practice.
Having this recovery point means that if your system becomes unusable due to malware or other errors, you can revert it back to previous state (before it got infected with malware). It will save you hours of headaches and make it very easy get your system working again.