Raven Solutions’ Security Tips for your Web-based Devices
Almost every week, we read about a major company or organization that has been hacked…lives disrupted, finances in disarray, and personal information made public.
If these intrusions are happening with regularity to the big guys, what can we do to protect our personal information from being abused on our computers, tablets, and mobile phones?
The answer is a good news-bad news story. Yes, it’s possible that anyone’s computer can be hacked, but it’s less likely that most of us would be targeted and hurt if we use a few easy but helpful precautions. There are several actions that each of us can execute to minimize the risk of being a victim of an intruder attack on our devices. In this discussion, we’ll address a few.
Password protection is an absolute must. Although passwords can become a major pain because most of us need at least a dozen or more for our web-based communications and personal accounts, it’s essential that we use them on our web-based devices. It’s also really important to change your passwords often and don’t use the same password for multiple accounts.
A good move is to select and use a password manager to help create more challenging passwords and to recall them instead of relying on memory or a scratchpad. The most important thing is to select a password manager that offers the level of security you require and one that is not so difficult that you won’t use it. Three password managers that have been tried, tested and found to be both user-friendly and reliable are 1Password, Dashlane, and LastPass. There are plenty more out there, but these three are worth checking out.
Enable personal and network firewalls. Firewalls are barriers that separate trusted from untrusted networks. The purpose of a firewall is to minimize the spread of attacks on your computer or network. You can enable a computer firewall by going into your personal settings and select the level of protection you need. Based on your personal requirements, you can usually select different levels of firewall security. It can save you from major grief, so do it!
Install patches in a timely manner. Periodically, your computer manufacturer may feel the need to make adjustments to your computer’s operating system or to software by creating a security update or patch for users to install. These patches are usually in response to a vulnerability that has been detected, based on malware that can cause damage to your system. When you get a notification of a new patch for your computer, it’s important that you allow it to work for you by adding the level of protection that your computer requires to stay ahead of attacks. It’s wise to install patches as soon as you get a notification that they’re available.
Beware of Harmful Email Attachments. One ploy that intruders use is to send emails with malware imbedded in attachments. Hackers often attack computers by using some else’s email address, so you cannot assume that just because it is a familiar email address, it’s safe. Be wary of emails with no subject in the subject line or senseless text in the body of the email. A lot of these harmful email attachments come in emails with no text at all. Don’t open suspicious attachments from anyone, even if you know the originator.
Install anti-virus software from a reputable source. Anti-virus software detects, prevents, and takes action to neutralize or remove viruses, worms and other malware. The software will regularly scan or you can scan on request to look through your files for known viruses that have been identified. The software looks for suspicious behavior that could indicate an attack on your device and then remove it safely from your files.
Avoid Scams and Phishing. Don’t provide or confirm personal or financial information online.
- Avoid clicking on links in pop-ups.
- Don’t respond to frightening scare-tactics that encourage you to provide account info online.
- Communicate personal information via secure and trustworthy sites or on phone calls that you initiate.
Privacy Settings. Use two-step verification when possible. If available, use the fingerprint ID option. Install more difficult passwords to gain access to your computer and all your devices. Use challenging security questions to make it harder for an intruder to gain access and change your settings. Be cautious about what you share online.
Create a system back-up disk for your computer and back up your files and pictures. If you have a Mac, use Time Machine to back up your computer.
Remember, no matter what you do, it is always possible that your devices can be attacked, so be vigilant and cautious. Get smart about protecting your information.
To determine how to strengthen the security of your business networks and web-based systems, contact us at Raven Solutions for assistance. It’s what we do, and we do it well.