You switch on your PC, wait for the OS to load – meanwhile you sip the morning coffee, login with your credentials. And finally, you are there: your blissful, pristine desktop.
Ready for the work, just as you are about to click on an icon, a message pops up:
SPAM SPYWARE – MALWARE – PHISHING
You quickly run a security suite scan, and the malware program is successfully removed.
A sigh of relief—you promise yourself, that from now on you will be executing “safe computing practices”. At home or office, safe computing is now your life’s mantra.
But, what practices constitute safe computing?
Welcome to another blog of “Learn the X Simple Tips” (hyperlink to the blog titled: Learn the 8 Simple Steps Towards Diagnosing a Network Problem) blogging series.
Today, we will be talking about safe computing practices. Not the ones that require you to be a tech savvy computer geek, but one which can be simply executed, yet are pretty effective. After all, that has always been the objective of this series, that is, to make things simple for our readers in the complex world of computers and networks.
So, let’s get learning.
Do You Really Need to be Digitally Connected all the Time?
It’s the question that you need to ask to yourself and answer it honestly. Because, although yes, the world of internet is fascinating with lots of information out there and plenty of activities profiling this digital world; it is also the main channel through which your computer can be exploited.
Hacking, virus and malware attacks, and internet spying are some of the threats that the usage of internet carries with it. Therefore, the more restricted the use, the safer the resulting computing experience.
You can turn off the internet, especially, if you intend to use your PC for long hours and there is no continuous need for you to remain connected to it.
- You have downloaded a movie and you are now watching it. You can do so, with your internet connection turned off.
- You have curated all the information from the internet that you needed to complete a task. You can now proceed, with your internet connection turned off.
- You have read the emails from your customers and can now sit down to prepare quotes for them. You don’t have to remain connected to the internet, while you work on the task.
What if, it’s practically impossible to do so?
We understand that. More and more tasks are being designed these days, which require you to use an internet connection all the time. In this case, you then need to buckle up your security measures at the point of entry, which brings us to our next tip.
Buckle Up Your Security Measures at the Point of Entry
What’s the point of entry?
We are referring here to your router, which connects your computer to internet and serves as a platform from where all the information is sent and received. It is important that you place some security barricade on your router, which can monitor this exchange of information.
The solution here, is installing a firewall on your router. It is also called hardware firewall. The hardware firewall will sit between your computer and your internet connection and regulate the access of the sent and received information depending on the configured settings.
What’s the result?
Your computer remains safe from unauthorized access, that may also bring with it the risk of spreading malicious programs
However, at enterprise level, having a hardware firewall is not a complete solution to keep a network of PCs, protected from unwanted internet traffic. This is where you need a software firewall, which happens to be our next topic of discussion.
Protect Your Computers from an Infected Machine in a Network
Your hardware firewall is regulating and monitoring the exterior traffic. But, what about an infected machine that is part of your network? How are you going to regulate and monitor the interior traffic that runs over an enterprise-level deployed network?
This is where a software firewall comes into play, the firewall that comes with your OS. You can also install a third party software firewall which comes with much more advanced security features.
The software firewall sits between your computer and the network and lets you control access on per-application basis.
If any of the network machines is infected, your software firewall will help to protect other members of the network – something which your hardware firewall isn’t able to do so.
And, More Security!
A set of firewalls will help protect your PC by monitoring the data packets sent and communicated over the internet. However, when we talk about computer security threats, data packets are not the only way that your computer can be exploited.
The downloaded file, the file copied from a USB or a disk can also contain malicious programs that can put the integrity of your system at risk. Installing an anti-virus software can help you a long way in providing protection against these malicious computer programs.
The anti-virus software solution will scan every file installed and received, eliminating malicious program from the system (where possible) or sending it to quarantine to prompt further action from the computer user. Also make sure, your anti-virus program is updated to the latest version to help it work more effectively.
Always Make Sure You Back Up Important Data
Backing up your important data on an external device or a remote storage platform is one of the key strategies to safe computing.
The technology is progressing rapidly and the dark actors are becoming more and more adept at their programming skills, designing malware programs that often manage to find a loophole. You can never have a full proof solution – even the biggest of corporations struggle with structuring a hundred percent secured system.
As such, a preventative strategy can serve you well.
One such strategy is backing up your important data. This won’t only help you in case of a security breach but at times, your local hard disk may also crash due to developed bad sectors – you will always have an access to your asset of information in case of an un-presaged event.
Avoid Visiting “Those” Websites
Let’s come clean: we do visit porn sites, we do visit sites that promise to offer cash prizes, we do click on website links that attract us with advertising fodder. These websites are often used by hackers and other malicious actors, with the intention of exploiting a system.
Rather than depending on your erected security measures, it is much better to avoid visiting these sites at all.
It’s Better to Stay Away From Public Wi-Fi
The temptation of free internet data is hard to resist – we know that. The urge is just too strong. But, it’s advisable to control the urge and rather use your own secured network.
Hackers exploit this very urge, knowing that people would access a public Wi-Fi for their internet operations. Any information sent over a public Wi-Fi can be easily compromised, as most websites don’t encrypt the data that you are sending over.
If the need is immediate and you don’t have any other option, you can use a VPN application for safe exchange of information over a public Wi-Fi.
This brings us to the end of another blog. We hope that you found this information useful. If you have any other tips with regards to safe computing practices, feel free to share in the comments section below. For more details get in touch with Noel Network & PC Services, Inc.