Look, the term “cyber” is all the rage now. Although we think of cyber as tech security, please note it really just means IT or relating to computers, virtual reality, and the computer age in general. So, you can actually interchange cyber with computer or internet or IT. In any case, I just wanted to clear that up first. As for cyber security, it is really important. Not just as a fear, scare tactic to ambulance chase, but to guard against not just your computer, but your files, identity, and confidential info.
Let’s also talk about what could happen without the proper cyber security defense. As a security company, we’ve seen a company with get stricken by ransomware which locked and encrypted over 100 company computers. Our security techs have also seen hackers remote into computers to attain banking info. And we’ve also been tasked with the garden-variety virus and trojan that slows down computers to a crawl.
You may be saying, I don’t get viruses. Nothing happens to me. That’s great, really it is. But, you’ll want to keep it that way. The Internet still being laissez-fare by the government and the modern-day hackers out there are a ruthless combination. You’ll need to police your own computer.
Here are the 5 cyber security tips to protect your computer.
Change your passwords.
It seems simple enough, but it’s the most neglected task. Every 6 months, change your computer password, email password, bank passwords, and any other important logins. You should also change passwords after a bad break-up, divorce, or other relationship killer where you know the other person had access to your computer or passwords. If someone has access to your passwords, it’s game over for you. Please change your passwords at least every half a year.
Make sure you have a real Anti-virus software install
This sounds funny, right? But, we’ve been seeing a ton of computers coming in that have an expired McAfee antivirus software trial that only lasted a couple months upon purchase. Or some folks think that Microsoft’s baked in Security protection actually acts like anti-virus software. Also, make sure you’re not just relying on an anti-spyware software that only works when you run scans. Don’t fall prey to these trials and false ad protections. Make sure you have a full-fledged security software.
Use a VPN
Not always, but only when you are in a public Wi-Fi area should you use VPN software. Why? It’s one of the easiest ways to get hacked. You’re on the same network with strangers. So, make sure you’re protected. Having a VPN all the time is fine although location-sensitive streaming sites, such as Netflix and Hulu, may have issues with it. So, when you’re in a cafe, airport or another public place, use VPN.
Update your operating system and software
Vulnerabilities are endless when your Mac or PC are not updated. Each updated operating system patch and upgrade have associated security updates and protections with them. So, it’s best practice to upgrade your computer to the highest OS you can. Not all older computers can handle the latest and greatest, but it’s efficient to kick them up as high as you can. Similarly, software, especially Adobe products, are gateways to malware when not updated. You should also update all of your installed software.
And you also need a firewall.
Some anti-virus applications have a blended firewall included. If that’s the case, I’m content with that. If not, make sure you also install a firewall. This makes sure unwanted traffic is blocked. This gatekeeper will look to block hackers, malware, and any other malicious traffic. Definitely a solid tool also to have as your line of defense.
Don’t take protecting your computer lightly. Just because you’ve been safe until now, you should aim to keep it that way.
If you’re not one to be able to take care of these five cyber security tips on your own, you can have a remote cyber security service take care of it for you: