At the term ‘computer security’ most people switch off because they think of it as something technical and complicated. The answer is that it can be, but the most important stuff is actually very simple. Here are a few of the basic, important things, you should do to make yourself safer online.
The following advice will help to keep you safer online. It’s all very dry stuff but do try to get to the end:
- A password should not be regarded as a nuisance, it is an essential item in your security toolkit. So use good strong passwords that can’t be easily guessed. By strong I mean choose a combination of letters and numbers, or even special characters, such as the hyphen.
- Once you have selected a password keep it secret. Don’t use the same password for all your important accounts; and finally, it is good practice to change it regularly.
- Keep your computer and tablets up to date with the current software. I know we all get sick and tired of the pop up messages saying that there are updates, or patches, available for install. But these are important because hackers look for vulnerable computers. To keep the bother to a minimum you can set your computer to install these updates automatically.
- Use email safely. For example, don’t click on unknown or unsolicited emails, if you do decide to read them be vary wary of opening attachments, links, and forms that come from people you don’t know. REMEMBER – your bank will never ask you to confirm your banking details via email, or telephone, for that matter.
- We all like to surf the internet, so be wary of sites that offer free downloads or software to help you fix problems. It’s probably true to say that you have not won a first or second prize in some free draw.
- Use anti-virus and anti-spyware software from reputable sources.
- Try to ensure that your data is backed up on a regular basis and check to see that the backup was successful. Again backups can be set up to working automatically.
- Windows and Mac computers have basic firewalls installed as part of their operating systems. When turned on, these firewalls, offer a basic level of security, by protecting your computer files from being scanned.
- If you are changing your computer or tablet make sure that any of your sensitive data is securely removed.
I hope that you have read to this point and didn’t find it too boring. I must admit that recently I was advised that I’d won second prize in a draw and that a new iPad was waiting for me to collect. Well, curiosity got the better of me, especially when I saw it came from a ‘reputable’ source. However, common sense kicked in and I didn’t follow the link and the cat survived!