Be it your personal computer or a small business or a large corporation running multiple systems and servers onsite, security os all the computers and servers should be your top priority at all times especially if you handle customer data that others are looking to get their hands on. Your personal e-mail accounts or your work addresses are all prone to cyber attacks. Some competitor may hire hackers to get your list of clients and their contact details for instance, this is just an example as there could be a million other reasons for someone to attack your computer. The best thing you could do is stay informed and know how to protect yourself from intrusions and attacks.
Staying aware of the latest ways these attacks take place is a good place to start. I will list out a few main points to keep in mind and implement to be on the safe side to protect your computer and your different accounts from hackers.
- Strong passwords : This is one of the most important things you could do to protect your password protected accounts and systems. Instead of using a simple password like abc1234 or qwerty etc, use a strong password that contains small and capital letters and also special characters and umbers.
- Firewall : A firewall is a must for every computer to prevent hackers from getting to the machine. You can buy a separate firewall that is standalone or you could buy one that comes with a complete security system along with anti-virus.
- Operating system updates : Be it Mac , windows or other linux based distributions , not keeping them updated with latest releases is a shore shot way of getting hacked. Keep your updates set to automatic so there is no delay in installing latest updates released for your operating systems. Most updates are related to security so it is extremely important to keep your computer’s operating system updated.
- Install an anti-virus software : It is a good idea to get a good anti virus for your computer to keep your system protected in real time and be able to run scans to check for unwanted scripts and loopholes. Please research before you choose an anti virus to make sure you buy from a reputed company that sends regular updates. Never install a pirated version as it wont get any updates and would be useless.
- Use the internet with caution : Do not visit dodgy websites and click on links unnecessarily to avoid installing malware unknowingly. Do not click on links sent by unknown people in your email or messenger etc to avoid visiting phishing pages. It is very important to use caution while surfing the net.
- How to handle passwords : Firstly follow the advise in point number one and always set up a strong password. Secondly, do not save your passwords in note pad or other locations on your computer. If you have to save them, use a safe vault or use a browser’s password saving feature so it stays encrypted and is not accessible to a hacker if they do manage to get into your computer after all the precautions you have taken. Set up a master password for the browser passwords, I would recommend using Safari for iOS and Chrome browser for windows.
- Shut down your computer when not in use : I know many people who never turn off there computers not realising that it is open to hackers to keep trying if you leave them running even while not in use. It is best to shut down your computer when not in use, it hardly takes a few seconds to restart when you need it again. Always as a rule shut it down at night while you wont be using it.
Those were some of the points to remember while using your computer to stay safe and thwart and hacking attempts on your computer. If you believe your computer has been hacked, shut it down and take it to a cyber security expert who will be able to run necessary scans to undo any changes that have been made on your computer.
Do come back to see new updates that I will add to this list on a regular basis. While then, Stay safe.