Most of us, if not everyone, has a computer these days, it is used to check Email accounts, pay bills, check bank accounts, chat, login to preferred social networks, manage confidential documents and the list goes on…
With today’s technology, a single piece of information can transit through many devices (computer, iPhone, tablets, TV) with a single click and this is good as it makes our lives easier. Yet, at the same time, it creates a huge security risk, as many users have already been victims and their identities have been stolen, their bank accounts emptied, credit/debit cards numbers and passwords stolen and used to buy different items from different locations etc.
Technology is a double-edged sword, it can make everything smooth or it can make everything terrible if no security measures are implemented. There are a lot of security applications (Firewalls, TLS/SSL, Anti-Virus, Anti-spyware) that can protect us from spyware but we still need to watch what we are doing and to whom we give our info.
Here are some tips we all need to be aware of these days:
- Make sure you have a password when logging in to any of your devices e.g.: computer, IPhone, tablet etc. this will prevent anyone from remotely accessing your computer easily.
- Make sure passwords are not names, building numbers, dates of birth or any other easy passwords e.g.: 123, abc, password etc. Hackers or spammers have tools to harvest all the easy passwords. Having a complicated one will make it impossible for them to login to your computer or your accounts.
- Make your passwords at least 8 characters, the longer the password is the harder it is to figure out.
- Make sure to change the passwords often, we recommend every 6 months.
- Never, never give your passwords or any other confidential information (except for the appropriate people to confirm your identity) about you e.g.: social security number, credit card number, date of birth, passwords etc.
- Make passwords a combination of Numbers, upper and lower case Letters, and even better include some Symbols (@, $, !, etc.) e.g.: Th1s1SM.
- Be very careful on social networks about the info you are displaying.
- Make sure the operating system (e.g.: Windows) and any other applications you have are up to date as most of the updates are about security flaws.
- Make sure to have an Anti-Virus program which is up to date. If you can’t afford one look for free ones (i.e.: AVG) and schedule it to scan your computer once a week.
- Make sure to have other tools to protect you from malicious programs. The best free tools I know of are Malware bytes and Search and destroy.
- For users with beginner/intermediate knowledge in computers I suggest enabling Windows firewall along with the anti-virus and anti-spyware.
- Do not download from unknown sites, and always see the user comments before downloading and installing an application on your computer.
- Configure your browsers to not keep any tracking cookies.
- Never access personal information from another computer if you are not sure it is clean.
- If you get prompted to save your password while you are on a website Choose â€œNEVER”.
- Never Click on â€œOK” or â€œRun” before reading the message you got prompted with, and if you don’t understand the message click on â€œCancel” or â€œNo”.
- If you get an Email from an unknown person don’t open it.
- If you happen to open it then don’t open any attachments, don’t execute any file attached, and don’t click on any link in the body of the message. For most of this email, a simple click on any link is enough to infect your computer.
- Never reply to an Email that is asking for your personal information, even if the Email is coming from your BANK. Please note that banks or any other legal institutions will never ask for personal info by Email.
- If you get a phone call asking for personal info, you have the right to ask them precise information to confirm who they pretend to be. Example: if you got a call from someone claiming that he is from your VISA card, you can ask him about your 3 numbers in the back of your card, last transaction, or balance.
For sure the list can go on (and on and on) but I think you get the idea.