As technology advances and becomes more vital to everyone’s everyday life, securing your technology becomes all the more important as a result. Unfortunately, understanding what it means to have properly secured technology is not necessarily going to be easy. Sure, you may be able to figure out the basics, but anything more complicated can be a pain in the butt to comprehend for those with limited experience securing their computer. To help you figure out just how to secure your computer, we have collected these helpful tips.
Use a Firewall and Antivirus
This one is easy, and most people tend to do this. However, for those who don’t, either through ignorance or disinterest, this is the first thing they should change. All Windows 10-enabled computers come with a firewall and antivirus program through Windows Defender, which is 100 percent free. You may also consider other free programs, such as MalwareBytes’ free version. If you want to look into a subscription service, however, there are multiple options. These include MalwareBytes Premium, Kaspersky, and Bitdefender.
Be Discerning About the Links and Attachments You Open
While there are a lot of security systems you can put on your computer to keep it safe, that doesn’t mean that you are 100 percent free from risk. In fact, thinking you’re free from risk is one of the biggest risk factors there is. If you assume that you won’t run into a virus or malware, then you’re even more susceptible. Don’t be surprised if you wind up with RYUK on your computer.
Ransomware like RYUK is a common means by which users prey upon people on the Internet, most often the most vulnerable among us. Scammers and other malicious actors take multiple methods to find victims, and one of those is to try to find people who seem to be their best bet. While not all, or even most older people are going to be vulnerable to such things as ransomware or other scams, that still is the demographic they typically target.
When clicking on any links or opening any attachments, make sure that you trust the source of the links and/or attachments. If the person sending them is unknown to you, you should assume that they are dangerous. However, even when it is someone you normally trust, it is possible that they themselves have been hacked, and are being used to message people on their friends lists across various platforms. They are hoping that the person they have hacked has people on their list that trust them. It can be difficult to discern a safe link from an unsafe link; however, there are ways to try. For one, if this friend normally doesn’t send links, that may be evidence that they were hacked. Another thought is to look at how they’re writing. Whether the writing is better or worse than normal, a difference in the way they type should be a dead giveaway.
Consider a VPN
A Virtual Private Network — or VPN — is becoming increasingly valuable to have in your toolbelt when browsing the Internet. These programs help enhance your security by preventing people or companies from seeing what your IP address is. What a VPN does is provide you with an encrypted connection that serves as a middleman of sorts between your computer and the Internet. Instead of your IP address, whatever attempts to track you will see the VPN’s IP address instead, which serves no purpose for them.
Secure Your Passwords
While it may be convenient to have the same password, even a complicated one, that is not nearly secure. The main issue of using one password is that, if even one website where this password is used has its data leaked, they will be able to take your email/password combination and get into your email address. This enables them to do a lot of damage, and have access to a lot of important information.
It’s not the easiest thing in the world to make unique passwords for each and every website you have an account on, but there are things to be done to fix that. First, you can use a program to auto-generate a secure password when signing up for a website or changing your password. These passwords are virtually unguessable. You can go for a program like LastPass, which also has a vault of your passwords for easy logins.
On top of that, you should look into two-factor authentication (2FA). This basically boils down to a function that requires you to use two methods of verifying that you are who you say you are. The first layer of verification would be access to the login information (password and email), while the second layer would be verifying it’s you through another program or device. You can use your phone, for example, to finish signing in to a website, thus preventing someone from signing in as you unless they first use your phone.