Online security threats are very real and extremely serious. Harmful malware and scam emails can have devastating effects such as losing the integrity of your PC and hackers gaining access to your personal information. These can be costly mistakes.
But how do you differentiate a friendly email from a fraudulent one? And how can you minimize the risk of accidentally clicking onto a dodgy website? Of course, there are signs such as spelling mistakes in an email’s subject line or it being sent from an unknown sender, but we are only human and can sometimes make mistakes, such as accidentally click into an email when trying to click the ‘bin’ icon.
Do you want to learn how to protect your home PC from online threats and the real-life Mr. Robot? If so, read on.
Install a VPN
VPN is short for Virtual Private Network, and they are used to send and receive data from the websites you are surfing. While many websites will take security measures into consideration and use SSL protection to protect your data, not all of them will, and this can leave you susceptible to hackers.
The best way to protect yourself and your personal information when online is to install a VPN. You can browse this site for more information on Avast, which is one the best VPNs out there for security-conscious people.
Update Your Software When Prompted
Software updates are a necessity because they typically contain patches that improve the security and features, fixing bugs and any holes that may have made it easy for hackers to take advantage of. The next time you get a software update, either install it right away or schedule it for when you are not using your home PC.
Use Strong Passwords (and Change them Frequently)
What’s the point in having a password if you can’t remember them yourself? While you want to ensure that you know your own login credentials, you will also want to have passwords that are challenging for people to crack. Remember, online hackers may try to figure out your passwords, but people close to you in real life may also know memorable information that make for common passwords. This gives them the opportunity to log in and take advantage of you.
What makes a strong password? Well, signs of a secure password typically include at least eight characters; special characters; the inclusion of both upper and lowercase; and numbers. You will want to avoid including pet names, your birthday as well as any family names.
Remembering your passwords can be difficult, so investing in a password manager and storing your passwords is essential – especially as you should ideally have different passwords for all accounts. Furthermore, you will want to change your passwords frequently to minimize the risk of security breaches.
Set Up Two-Factor Authentication
When opening up an account or setting up an online profile on a website, many websites will ask you to set up two-factor authentication. We may roll our eyes or let out a big sigh because it takes an extra minute of our time, but in the grand scheme of things, this extra layer of protection can be what stops a hacker in their tracks.
Typical two-factor authentication methods include a code being sent to your mobile phone or email. You will then be prompted to key in the digits when signing into your account online. Another measure is fingerprint authorization – much like mobile phones and devices that require you to place your thumb or finger on the screen so that they can determine whether it is you unlocking the device.
Don’t Open Emails from Strangers
We are told not to approach or talk to strangers in real life, and this is no different in the virtual world. If you find an email in your inbox and do not know who the sender is, move the email into the junk folder. The main reason behind not opening emails from strangers is that you will find many phishing emails with malware attached. This malware can hold our PCs for ransom with hackers requiring you to pay them to (hopefully) unlock your PC. On the other hand, the malware can lay dormant on your PC and track your movements and the details you are putting into your PC.
Backup Your Data
Predict and prepare for the worst by backing up your data. Therefore, if you are to fall victim to ransomware, you know you can retrieve your data without having to pay the hackers to release it back to you. Of course, you will still have had a security breach and will want to change your login information. What’s more, if you have business information such as client details on your home PC, you will still need to make them aware of the breach. However, you won’t have to cave into the demands of the hackers.
The online world can be scary and full of many threats for us to avoid. However, if you put the above tips into practice you will be able to navigate the world wide web much more safely.