Being hacked is an unpleasant experience, to say the least. If you’ve ever been the victim of a cyber hack, you know the amount of trouble you went through to resolve the issue. Not only is it a time-consuming effort towards something completely undesirable, but it can also be expensive to restore your machine to its original state. So, how can you protect your home computer from hackers and any type of malicious code or documents that might infect your system?
Cyber security professionals recommend taking the following measures to protect your computer and the data it contains from any hacking attempts:
Keep Your OS and Software Up-to-Date
Automatically updating computer OS and other software applications can prevent most hackers from getting into your system. That’s because new security measures are constantly being implemented, which effectively closes old doors to attackers. If you can’t set these to update automatically, at least schedule a time to do it every week or every month. It’s well worth the extra effort, and it’s especially true of antivirus and other security programs.
Avoid Using Open WiFi
Open WiFi networks are the playground of hackers because the data is relatively easy to intercept. If you must use an open WiFi network, make sure you’re not doing sensitive transactions like Internet banking and such. Even your own WiFi needs to be encrypted with a strong password, and changed periodically.
Use a Password Manager
This is actually an ancillary requirement of password best practices. You can see a lot of discussions to recover forgotten password such as Windows login password, document password, etc. Because you need so many unique and strong passwords, you need a good password manager to handle it all, and across multiple devices. Remember that it’s not just your computer any more. Your smart home gadgets, your mobile phone, even your Smart TV – all these are entry points for hackers to get on your personal network and infect other devices. So be wise and get a password manager so you can have the best password protection possible without the hassle of having to remember complex passwords for multiple devices.
Go Anonymous on the Web
When browsing the web, there’s a ton of data about you being sent out, and any of that data is susceptible to interception by threat actors. Using a VPN and browsing in private or incognito mode can help preserve your privacy and reduce the threat posed to you by hackers. In addition, be cautious when reading your emails. The ousted ruler of that hard-to-find African nation who wanted to send you millions of dollars is much smarter now! Phishing has become technically advanced, and there are several new and emerging delivery methods for dropping a payload of malware into your computer, so proceed with caution when checking mails or browsing unknown sites.
Don’t Use Cloud for Sensitive Data
There are a lot of cloud service providers out there that charge very little for large amounts of storage. However, not all of them are equally secure. It’s different when you’re dealing with a company like Microsoft, Amazon or Dropbox, but if it’s a little-known provider, then don’t trust your sensitive or personal information to cloud servers. It’s better to have backups on hard drives that you can store physically than to have data “resting” in a place with an unknown security level.
A Final Note to Computer Users Everywhere
The cyber threat landscape is evolving everyday. Hackers are getting smarter, they’re getting better resources, and they’re working day and night to find vulnerabilities that they can take advantage of. Don’t present yourself as an easy target, because that’s what they’re looking for.
In a world where the Internet is ubiquitous, security is to computer hygiene what brushing and flossing are to dental hygiene. You may not be affected immediately or ever, but when a problem does strike it could be extremely painful and expensive to treat. And you want to prevent that by any means possible, including ALL of the methods we’ve described in this article.
Stay safe online.