Internet usage is most common in every PC be it your personal computer or at the office. Security is the first thing that anyone would be concerned about as internet connectivity has its own pros and cons and hacking is one of the most important concerns for most of the PC users. Now, PC users can be relieved of these concerns as below given are some simple steps which they can easily adapt and get their computers and online accounts secured.
Removal of the pre-installed software and apps:
With the recent Man-in-the-middle attack in the Lenovo computers, the pre-installed apps and software really seem to be very dangerous. Most of the times it is just a bloatware unless the user really has some use of all these apps and software hence getting rid of this definitely safeguards the computer against any security threat. Further, it is better to get rid of any pseudo antiviruses accompanied with the new computer.
Choosing a secured web browser:
This is an important task as most of the malicious malware comes through the web browser. Setting the right web browser is essential because the correct web browser can help the user to safeguard against all the malware and also help the user to use their computer to the best. Depending upon the age of computer and the device that is being used, the user needs to choose the correct web browser. Further, Google Chrome is one of the best web browsers which provides additional security via Sandbox feature. If the user wants to add further features they can use the Mozilla Firefox extensions also. Basically, the user needs to know what they want from their browser then check the features and check if the browser meets their requirement then start using that browser.
Use a strong password for the user account:
Setting a strong password is the key for the security of the PC as well as the online accounts. Users must remember certain important points while choosing a password:
First of all, it should be minimum of 8 characters, the longer the better.
It should be a combination of lower and upper cases of alphabets.
It should contain random two or three words which should be easy for the user to remember.
Adding numbers, punctuation and symbols will further make the password complicated.
Never keep the same password for different accounts, instead, let the base password remain and the user can further add few more words or symbol and hence it will be easy for the user to remember the passwords. The user can take help of a password Manager in case they feel it is difficult to set different passwords for different account e.g. LastPass free password manager.
Opting for Virtual Private Networking:
Enabling the Hotspot Shield VPN helps the user to protect their privacy, secure their internet, get protection against malware, it also enables public Wi-Fi security so any malicious intruders on the same Wi-Fi network cannot access user’s data. This is a free service. Further, OpenDNS services can further add to the browser security from various other malicious sites. The only drawback here is that the internet speed might be slowed down.
Setting up 2F Authentication for an online account:
With the cyber crooks at each and every nook and corner, it is always better to set up a Two-Factor authentication for all the online accounts including Apple, Google, Facebook, Yahoo and Microsoft. Here, the user needs to use their password for the first step of login and then the account would send a pin number or code to a secure and trusted device like user’s smartphone. This authentication is one of the best security for all the social network sites and a must for all online accounts.
Protection from the “Phishing Scams”:
Online identity theft wherein users give their personal details on illegitimate websites which are then used for various frauds is known as Phishing. There are many ways in which users can safeguard themselves against these Phishing scams. Some of them are listed below:
Guard against spam: Users need to be cautious of unknown emails sent by unrecognised users, emails that ask personal information, emails that ask any personal or financial information over the internet.
During online financial transactions always check for “https” rather than “HTTP” as the former is secured site.
Do not give any financial or personal account details on phone call. click on links or download files or open attachments in emails from unknown senders unless you are expecting them from the sender, even if has been sent from some known sender.
Never send personal or financial information over the internet even if you know the recipient of the email.
Never enter any personal information on any pop-up screen.
By regularly checking the bank statements and online accounts users can ensure themselves that no unauthorised transactions have been made.
Be careful of the links that are sent in emails which ask for personal information.
Most important the computer needs to be protected with the proper antivirus and antispyware software to block the computer against any spyware and malware.
Ensuring a strong antivirus software: Users can opt for the Antivirus, Anti spyware software and Firewall software for ensuring a stronger security of their computer and online accounts as already seen in the earlier point as this will help the user to prevent themselves from Phishing.
This basically scans for any strange behaviours and patterns from programs, files and processes and then identifies the threat this malware can produce to the computer and networks. Basically, it needs to be designed in such a way as to detect and deal with the viruses, rootkits, Trojans, keyloggers, worms. Users would need to check if their antivirus software provides real time scanning or is it on demand. Further, a regular scanning of the computer, as well as regular update of the antivirus software, can help the user to keep their computer away from all the modern malware. Hence a strong antivirus is a must for all computer users.
On the other hand, Antispyware software identifies and removes the unwanted advertising installations from the computer. Firewall Software is a strong barrier in between computer and internet world. This tries to protect the computer from any kind of external malware and hackers which try to penetrate user’s network with the aim of damaging the computer and also getting personal information of the user.
Add “HTTPS Everywhere” plugin for all the web browsers:
Users can secure their web browser if they use the “HTTPS Everywhere extensions” for web browsers like Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome etc. This extension has been created by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Tor project and hence it is secure and trusted one. Also, it automatically switches the majority of the sites from the insecure “HTTP” to “https” and hence protects the user from being hacked or from third party supervision. This extension also provides a secure web page to be viewed and hence increases the security of the user. The user can thus not only protect their privacy but also can be sure of securing their accounts.
TOR is a free software and open source system which enables users for anonymous browsing. The TOR software shuffles user’s identity due to which any hacker or intelligence agency cannot read user’s browsing history. So with TOR user can ensure their browser security and privacy.
Ensuring physical security of the PC:
Users can opt for the BIOS password and this will ensure that the unauthorised use of the computer is prevented. BIOS is a program that controls the computer’s initial booting cycle as well as the hardware initialization. Remembering the BIOS password by the user is essential because if the user forgets the password then it is not possible to boot the computer and it can be reset only with help of the vendor.
Users also need to remember to never store any important data on any external USB device or hard drive as these are easily prone to theft. One more method that users can opt for is Encrypting their entire user account and what would this mean, this simply would mean that if the user encrypts their data than all the electronic data gets converted into unreadable matter hence it is difficult for the hackers to read the data.
Mostly for all the sensitive financial and personal information data encryption is very important. Users can opt for DataMask by AOL which will always protect user’s online identification whenever a user communicates online (while shopping or banking or browsing).
These are the few steps that can ensure the protection of computer and online accounts of the user. If readers are already using any other methods for safeguarding their desktops and online accounts from malware and hackers then please feel free to mention it in the comments section.
At last, Remember One Point ” Security Is An Illusion “