We all know that updating your computer can sometimes be seen as a hassle which can take anywhere from a few minutes to over an hour. But the hard truth is that the people who designed your Operating System (OS) are constantly working hard in order to ensure that anyone attempting to access your files or information unlawfully have a hard time doing so. Rolling out updates periodically is one way for them to do this, and helps keep your PC’s internals software protected if not from the next new threat, then at the very least from those that are already known.
uBlock Origin is a free and open-source, cross-platform browser extension for content-filtering, including ad-blocking. The extension is available for several browsers: Safari (beta), Chrome, Chromium, Edge, Firefox, and Opera. uBlock Origin has received praise from technology websites and is reported to be much less memory-intensive than other extensions with similar functionality.
If you don’t already have some sort of spam and advertisement filter accessible either from your virus protection software, or your browser then you are constantly at risk of clicking on something harmful and malicious. Always make sure you do a bit of research about any extension you download to ensure it isn’t just a tracker in disguise.
Auto and Manual Back Ups
Having an external hard drive, or even just a simple USB into which you periodically backup your essential files will save you time and money in the long run. Computers can go down for seemingly no reason when just yesterday they appeared to be working just fine. Cloud services are normally good at what they do, but even they can suffer from mistakes and sometimes be hacked. Having a place that is untouchable by anyone but you ensures that the information you want and need will be safe from prying eyes even if something does go drastically wrong.
Passwords are the bouncers to the internet nightclub. The stronger you make your password the less unwanted people will be able to get into the information on the other side. Using numbers (1, 3, 5, 7, etc…) combined with symbols (@, #, &, !) will help you immeasurably when it comes to securing your data. If your password is say, “Password1” a passphrase most people find to be acceptable, you should consider an update to your code. Hackers have databases and programs which are capable of running hundreds of passwords a minute and placing numbers before and after the aforementioned words in the hopes of guessing these insecure passwords. Placing numbers and symbols in strange places throughout your password makes a hacker’s job ten times harder if they want to crack your code.
Turn on your firewall!
Windows defender is normally the first wall of defense for your computer’s security. Don’t expect it to be the end all be all of it, however. Yes, we know that having to sometimes manually accept programs which you might install can be pesky, but your computer is asking you because it wants to be double sure that you are installing something that you actually want. Making sure your windows defender core program is updated is helpful beyond belief and having your firewall set to a moderate level of security can also ensure that unwanted programs will stay unwanted and off your system.
Have an Anti-virus Program
If something manages to get past your first line of defense there is nothing better than having a second line of it. There are tons of premium anti-virus software you can purchase which maintain regular updates and constantly check your system’s security and stability. If you happen to be short on cash open source anti-virus programs are not a bad second choice. These are usually community updated and maintained, so don’t expect them to be on par with a commercial choice, but they are also normally ad-free, and are totally transparent in terms of what you are getting out of them.
I’m sure you receive two or three dozen emails about pills you supposedly need, products you never heard of, or Nigerian princes needing their gold to be moved by you their trusted friend and confidant. It should go without saying that ignoring unknown senders is probably the safest thing you can do, but if you’re truly unsure about an email just make sure that you don’t actually ever click any links offered to you in an unknown email unless you are sure about who it came from. The same rule should be applied to attachments received in this fashion, they can easily be a program which settles into the background noise of your computer’s processes and mines your PC for data.
Two Factor Authentication
What is Two Factor Authentication (2FA) I hear you ask? Two-factor authentication is an extra layer of security for your devices designed to ensure that you’re the only person who can access your account, even if someone knows your password. With two-factor authentication, your account can only be accessed on devices you trust. Using a username and password together with a piece of information that only the user knows makes it harder for potential intruders to gain access and steal that person’s personal data or identity. You probably have used this method before without even realizing it, if you’ve ever used an ATM then you’ve used 2FA. Inserting your physical card is one authentication, the second is your pin, 2FA on your devices works in a similar method although without physical objects.
We all hate to admit when we’ve made a mistake but they do happen. The larger your company becomes the more likely someone is to accidentally click on an attachment they thought was from Gary from accounting, or misclick when an unwanted advertisement pops up while doing some research. An undersight is the idea that you could lose out on money, time, or resources because of a small mistake someone might have passed off as inconsequential at the moment of making it. Don’t make yourself liable to something which can be prevented from the start. Proper oversight can change the threat level to your small or large business and help you maintain a well-defended working environment from the many different types of viruses looking to take advantage of our inability to constantly be on our guard.