How computer security savvy are you

Many people think that just installing an antivirus is enough to protect their PC, unfortunately that's not the case. Here are some tips for our computer security

Nowadays, computer security is the first aspect to take into account. Both when we surf the Net at home for leisure and when we use the Internet for work. Installing antivirus programs is not enough to protect our devices. Many users think that in order to protect themselves from malware and online scams, all they need to do is install a simple antivirus program on their home or work computer. In reality, this is not the case. For example, there are phishing campaigns on the Internet that use social engineering techniques to trick you into installing a virus or giving your data to a cybercriminal unwittingly. That's why there are ten tips to put into practice to become true experts in computer security and not fall into the trap of hackers.

Use passphrases

To protect our accounts the use of a simple password is not enough. We need to use passphrases. That is, very long and complex alphanumeric access codes. An even more secure access technique are unique passwords. That is, generated for immediate login and which expire once the access procedure is completed. These are widely used for registering for online banking services but are now starting to spread to almost every account.

Password manager

Using a passphrase on every service we use requires a lot of memory effort. Remembering the credentials of each account when they consist of numbers and letters is not easy. For this we can use a password manager.

Two-factor authentication

In order to avoid the risk of having all the information we have in our online profile stolen, we recommend to activate two-factor authentication. In this way also if the hacker will succeed to discover our password he won't be able to access to our information. Because to complete the login we will be sent an SMS or a link via email or via smartphone. And if we don't confirm the access will be blocked.

Update software

The verb to go along with the word cyber security is update. The more we update our antivirus, our operating system and all installed applications, the harder it will be for hackers to steal our credentials. In fact, cyber criminals almost always exploit vulnerabilities in old operating platforms to target users.

Use an antivirus

Using an antivirus alone, we said, is not enough to protect us from hackers. But not using a defense program is even worse. Many people believe that if they don't enter dangerous sites and don't download files from the Internet, they are not at risk and can safely not install an antivirus. Not so. Just by accessing the Internet you are potentially at risk.

Beware of links

Not all links we receive on messaging apps or via email should be clicked lightly. In fact, malicious links are the primary vector for spreading malware. Before clicking on them, it's a good idea to check the URL and maybe use link verification programs to see if they are trustworthy or not.

Watch out for attachments

80% of ransomware in 2016 hit users by exploiting a malicious email attachment. Just like links, attachments are also a big danger to our cyber security. When we receive one let's always ask ourselves questions before opening it. We also contact the user who sent it before downloading it and ask for information. And then we use special programs that scan the attachments.

Use Unlock Codes

One of the mistakes that many people make is not setting an unlock code on their PC, tablet or smartphone. Instead, we need to protect every electronic device with a PIN or password. In fact, malicious people can attack us even in physically and not only online. And if we use an unlock code, it's more difficult for a thief to steal our information if he takes possession of our computer or phone.

Don't walk away from your PC

Imagine the scene: you're in an office or a library, you walk away to get a coffee and leave your computer on. It's probably happened to everyone. But it's an important mistake for device security. Every time we walk away from the PC we have to lock it by setting an appropriate code. If we have a Windows computer, we can lock the machine by pressing the Windows button (the one with the little window) plus L. If we have a Mac, we can lock it with the sequence of buttons Control + Shift + Eject.

Use a VPN

Use a VPN is the best way to protect our privacy while surfing the Net. And VPNs are especially recommended if we often use free connections in public places, such as bars, restaurants or airports. In fact, these connections are often targeted by cyber criminals who exploit them to generate a hacking attack known as Man in the Middle.