Computer security is today a matter of vital importance for everyone. Whether we are individuals or companies, we operate with our smartphone or our computer or play with the console, threats to our computer security can appear practically every time we connect to the Internet.
For this reason, we wanted to collect some of the most effective and straightforward recommendations so that anyone can be protected against cybercriminals.
Although some are processes and methods to enhance our computer security, most of these tips are healthy habits to follow in our day-to-day handling of devices.
The 15 Best Tips to be safe on the Internet
1. Manage your Passwords well
Passwords are often a massive hole in computer security. Designed to protect the accounts that we have in different portals, they have become a real headache for many users.
A good part of the population puts, unless the portal in question requires otherwise, an easy-to-crack password. The license plate of the car, the name of the dog, the date of birth of their children… In short, numbers and expressions with specific meanings are significant security weaknesses.
On the other hand, there is also a proliferation of people who put the same password everywhere. In the mail, in the Netflix account, in the PayPal account… Although some services are more compromised than others, they are all equally vulnerable if you try to enter them by brute force (with a program that tests passwords automatically).
As we say, it is important to have a password for each site and change it periodically. An excellent way to create strong passwords is through one of the many pages that can randomly generate these contents, including numbers, uppercase and lowercase letters, and special characters. Of course, you must save it in a password manager or, also, in a physical plan.
2. Always be suspicious of Airport Wi-fi (or other public places)
“Free WiFi” is one of the most effective advertising claims. The one that makes you opt for a bar instead of the one across the street. However, it also attracts those who try to take your data. It is already an old and well-known method, but we continue to expose ourselves to it.
Public WiFi networks can be very useful if you need to look up an address or if you are wondering what that word in English you don’t understand on the dessert menu means. However, they can compromise the security of your data and even your money if you act irresponsibly online while on one of these connections.
In other words, avoid accessing your data (banks, emails, enter your Facebook password) while you are connected to a public WiFi network. You never know who might be around.
Are you going to make a transfer with your mobile or pay something for Amazon while using the WiFi on the bus? Better disconnect it and carry out transactions with your 3G or 4G network. You will spend more data, but you will avoid having less money in the bank account.
Also Read: Catch Up On Computer Viruses In 2022
3. Always update basic Software
“How heavy the operating system with which to update!” There must be a reason. Most updates are usually patches made for technical problems or computer security gaps. If malware is constantly being updated, why not your programs?
Many programs we do not allow for updating are usually basic functionalities of our equipment, such as the word processor, the PDF reader, Adobe Flash… It is always advisable to do so since they may even have new functionalities, and, in addition, they are usually not very heavy patches for downloads.
4. Beware of fraudulent Downloads and Attachments
Has it ever happened to you that you are browsing a website and suddenly a file is downloaded? This type of element, normally executable (.exe), usually contains malicious code that, if installed, can harm our computer.
We are not talking about your computer being blown up, but annoying programs appearing, elements that prevent you from working or some harmful extension on your computer. With email attachments, more of the same. Suppose we find something strange or unexpected in the trash without opening it.
5. Your Phone is also a Computer
Many times we overlook the importance of mobile in our lives. We communicate through it, we get information through it, and we even pay with this device. However, many times we think that, since a mobile phone is just that, we do not think that a virus will enter us there.
For this reason, it never hurts to be extremely cautious when we are using this device to browse the Internet or carry out any online management.
6. Always make purchases on Secure Sites
If you don’t buy from a store that looks suspicious to you, why do we overlook this on the Internet? Online shopping can be data hooks; you introduce your credit card and goodbye to the money!
For this reason, the most advisable thing is to always enter, with lead feet, in certified, reliable and reputable places. Although our browser often warns us that a website “smells funny”, it can ignore many others.
A good practice is to look at the SSL certificate of a website, as well as the HTTPS domain. These are tests that prove that a website is reliable and with a secure exchange of data (passwords, bank details, etc.)
7. The Antivirus, always
Whether you have the most powerful one on the market or a free one, always have an antivirus on your computer. Even if you only have the basic plan, cheaper or free, it will always be better than nothing. It will warn you with its database of malicious content and websites suspected of containing some malware.
Of course, logic says that the more you pay for an antivirus, the better it will protect you. However, a home computer can be sufficiently covered with a free version. Of course, always downloaded or installed officially (a CD/DVD or the provider’s website).
8. Strange Emails, Phishing and Spam
Email is one of the traditional sources of security threats. A place where everyone can submit content and where it is possible to bombard the user with spam or malicious mail.
Although today’s email managers are quite robust and do a more than decent screening, they can always miss a suspicious email. Before any strange mail, there are some basic guidelines:
Do not pay attention to emails with text in strange languages, unknown senders or with a more than suspicious address.
If they ask you for money in the mail, never give it. Even if it comes from an email from your bank, go to your bank account first or call customer service to carry out this process.
Is there an attachment? Never open it.
Were you waiting for an email in Russian asking for money, with a box to enter your data or with an executable? Great. If not, to the trash can directly.
9. Beware of the IoT: Computer Security has come to the living room
The Internet of Things can seriously threaten our computer security and privacy. There have already been cases of eavesdropping by entertainment devices. Speakers, Smart TVs… practically any device is susceptible to being hacked. For this reason, it is recommended that we also be careful with where we connect them and under what circumstances.
We are not saying that your washing machine will reveal your bank account, but “strange things” can always happen, such as listening to Samsung TVs or the Alexa speaker.
We must always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and look for constant system updates in these cases.
10. Use user creation for different people
Operating systems allow the creation of different users with identical or additional permissions. In the case of sharing the same computer with several people, it is a great idea to resort to this system. This allows our data, browsing history, etc. stay for us.
Of course, it is essential to put a password on our user, just as we would do on our Facebook.
11. Log out, especially in public places
It is more than common to leave the session open when we carry out any management on a public computer. For this reason, closing our session and turning off the computer so that part of its memory is emptied (in case we have copied a password, etc.) is more than recommended.
It is good practice if we use a computer that is not ours (the one in the office, the one in the library) to look at Facebook or do similar things. It is even advisable that we carry out this process with the equipment we have at home, just in case.
12. Check authorized apps and extensions
Pages like Google, Facebook or Twitter can operate with various extensions or apps. A very common practice is to accept that they manage our data and we without realize it. The typical extension to see who has unfollowed me or even the Facebook game you are so addicted to can be used for data filtering.
We also have the “Sign up with Facebook/Google +/ Twitter” for many pages that offer services (shopping, for example). In these cases, an authorization standard called OAuth is used, which will not give our password to the page. Although it is not considered dangerous, we must pay attention to where we go and what we give permission to.
In this article, you will find a guide on how to review your apps and how to revoke their permissions.
13. Activate the Firewall
By default, the Firewall or Firewall is one of the most valuable tools for protecting our computers. Disabling it can leave us somewhat exposed, and nothing will happen if you leave it always. Although some games, downloads and programs will reject you, you can permanently block the Firewall for X time or set exceptions.
14. Make a Backup
One of the most effective solutions in terms of computer security is to have a backup solution. Few things are more useful in computer security than having our data somewhere else, whether in the cloud, on an external hard drive, etc.
There are several paid and free solutions on the market that will adapt to your security, update and storage needs.
15. Are you not using the Internet? turn it off
You know what they say. The dog is dead… Although there is everything in the vineyard of malware, many of them operate through the Internet. If we don’t have a network connection, it will be impossible for them to do their evil work.
If you’re working with your word processor without using the Internet, what difference does it make to turn it off? The so-called aeroplane mode can be very useful in these cases since it facilitates an almost total disconnection from networks with the push of a button. By blinding the threat a little, we will protect the computer security of our team.
Bonus: Caution and Scepticism are 99% of computer security at the user level
It is very difficult for cybercriminals to target a home or small business computer. Most internet threats come from spam chains and malicious elements that are just “just sitting there” waiting for someone to download or access them.
For this reason, you must be cautious when operating on the Internet. Reasonable suspicion in time can save us trouble and, possibly, money.
Also Read: Cybersecurity In 2022 | Trends And Threats