The Internet is becoming more and more central to our lives, to the point where we can’t imagine our day without checking our Facebook feed or sending an e-mail. Because we’ve become so dependent on information technology, online security is slowly turning into a serious issue. It’s much easier and much less risky to commit a crime online because it’s much easier to hide from the authorities, and therefore the chances of getting caught are significantly smaller.
For this reason, the best way to fight cyber crime is to simply improve the security of your own PC, and today we’re going to teach you how to do just that.
It can sometimes be annoying to have to wait for your operating system or browser to download and install an update, but if you want to keep your PC protected it’s essential that you do just that. The main reason for an update is most likely some kind of security patch that can potentially prevent a malicious cyber attack from targeting your PC. Entire development teams work on these patches day and night in order to provide you with greater security, so it’s just good sense to accept their help and go through with the update instead of canceling or postponing it.
Use a VPN
If you’re really serious about keeping your Internet connection secure and private, you need to set up a VPN first before even thinking about browsing the web. The moment your computer connects to a VPN server, the connection is highly encrypted; all your data is split into packets and encapsulated, making it nearly impossible for a third party to read it.
Additionally, since you receive a new IP address any time you use the VPN server of your choice, it means that all the information that someone could get from just your IP (your location, your ISP, your browser’s user agent) is kept completely private. There are a lot of fantastic VPN providers out there that you can choose from, just make sure that you pick one that doesn’t keep logs of your traffic, because that can also potentially be considered a security risk.
Malware is definitely considered less of a threat than a few years ago because operating systems and browsers are much more secure now, but it’s still something that you should be concerned about, at least on some level. It’s always good to have some kind of anti-virus app installed with a resident shield and a good scanning function, and scanning your PC once or twice a week is sufficient to make sure you aren’t harboring any dormant malware.
Realistically, most malware is harmless – it’s either coded for fun or to intentionally exploit security flaws so they can be fixed, but if the hacker has more malicious intents it can potentially do some more damage, such as hijacking your DNS and leading you to a phishing website.
Have you ever wondered why most operating systems these days offer you the ability to choose which privileges your user account is going to have? This option is there for a number of reasons: One of them is obviously to stop other people that have physical access to your PC from modifying your files and folders and installing suspicious software, but the other is to limit your own privileges so that, in the event of a malware infection, the virus doesn’t have permission to alter critical system files.
It’s a big security risk to give your account every single privilege, because that means that as long as you’re logged into that account, you run the risk of giving malware the chance of doing significant, irreparable damage to your system. This is why you should absolutely refrain from regularly using an Administrator account – if you need administrative privileges for a particular operation, your operating system will probably give you the option of authorizing yourself just for that operation by entering your administrator password. This is a much safer way of handling privileges, without having to remove an additional, important layer of security.
This is the most obvious one, but it’s also the number one thing most people overlook. It’s tempting to create a password that’s easy to remember and use it on every account you possess, but from a security standpoint, this is a very bad idea. Your passwords should be randomly generated, contain a mix of uppercase/lowercase letters, numbers and symbols. Additionally, the more often you change your passwords, the less likely you’re going to have your accounts compromised by a malicious third party.