Cyber Security 101
Follow These Basic Security Steps for Your Computer
Blog Excerpt: These simple steps for computer and online security will help you protect your personal and confidential information and keep your operating system and other software up to date, reducing your risk of malware, account takeovers and other digital intrusions.
When your computer's operating system and software are not up to date and your passwords are easy to guess, your personal information is at risk. If you're like most people, you do just about everything online nowadays from paying your bills to managing your bank account and even ordering household supplies. Each of these activities puts your information out there if your passwords, software and operating system aren't secure. These tips and tools will help you safeguard your information.
Install Software Updates
Installing software updates and operating system updates is critical to your privacy and security. The updates often include fixes for bugs and vulnerabilities that could put your information at risk. Set up your computer and smartphone for automatic software and operating system updates. You can do this from your control panel. Choose a web browser like Firefox or Chrome, both of which issue frequent security updates. If you use browser plug-ins such as Flash or Java, keep them up to date. Use the free Secunia PSI service to identify other software on your computer or phone that needs to be updated.
Implement Strong Passwords
You may have many passwords, one for each site you visit and account that you have. It might be tempting to set up a simple password and use the same one for every account and login. This is an invitation to hackers to gain access to your information. Make sure your passwords are unique so that hackers cannot easily guess them. Use different passwords for each account and site login. Use complex passphrases with a combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers and characters. Implement two-step verification for account logins, which lessens your risk of a hacker's takeover.
Be sure to back up your critical data regularly. If hackers got into your computer or smartphone with malware, they could hold your data for ransom. When your data is backed up on an external hard drive or to the cloud, you will not have to worry about this happening. Information to consider backing up includes your digital photos, videos and contacts list. Keep your backup information in a locked and secured place. Consider having a second backup stored outside of your house, such as in a bank's safe deposit box.
Automating software and OS updates takes little time as does backing up your data. The time that you spend on updating your passwords with strong passphrases and managing your software and operating system updates is well worth the effort. You can have the peace of mind that comes from knowing you have taken proactive steps for protecting your privacy and data security.