Human beings are more dependent on computers than ever before, because of the importance we place on the data that is stored on them.Malicious files, like worms, viruses, spyware, and adware and Trojan horses are things that we need to be highly aware of, because of the implications it can have for our data.
No matter how experienced one is, using a computer, safe computer practises is a must, combining both physical protection and software protection, using a variety of different tools.
If you want to make your computer secure, you need to adopt both, below are 10 tips that you can use to do that.
- Be Cautious Of Portable Drives
You should be very careful when using your portable device in a public space. There are software programs that are capable of uploading themselves to your portable device the moment you connect it to the public computer. You especially do not want to use external hard drives that carry personal information in these public areas.
- Legally Download Your Files
Along with all the possible legal ramifications, when you download movies and music from peer-to-peer networks, you run the risk of damaging your system. Many of these downloadable files contain viruses that you do not want getting on your system.
- Control Access to Your System
Make sure you never leave your computer unattended in public spaces. This goes for workstations too, you want to ensure that you are logged off, before leaving your desk. Securing your system, is both a physical and software endeavour.
- Beware of Key Loggers
There are programs that are designed to record every key stroke that you make on your computer. These programs can very easily be downloaded to a public system by a hacker, then accessed at a later time, without anyone noticing. For this particular reason, you should never type your credit card details into a public computer.
- Scan Attachments and Links in Your Emails
To keep viruses off your system, you’ll want to ensure that all attachments and links inside your emails are scanned. Viruses are usually spread by attaching themselves to emails from a friend or family member. While, looking at these attached files, of say, a photo or a document, it may appear legitimate, however your antivirus scanner will know whether or not it’s infected.
If you receive an email from someone you trust, that contains a link, you’ll want to hover over the link first, to find out where the link is pointing to, so that you can determine whether or not it’s safe to visit. You always want to know where you are going, while surfing the web.
- Regularly Backup your System
If you regularly backup your computer, you can better protect it from any unforeseen circumstances. You want to have a couple month’s work of backups, which you can access, in the event that something happens to your current data. There are many tools out there that you use to carry out this process, including built in Windows based tools.
- Use a VPN
When you use a Virtual Private Network to connect to the internet or network, you can ensure that you are safe. All data that travels through one of these VPNs is encrypted and thus, cannot be copied and interpreted. So, be on the lookout for such software.
- Clean Out Your Files
Before and after you’ve finished working on a public computer, you’ll want to ensure that you clean out all those junk files, in the temporary internet folder, recycle bin, cache and more. You’ll also want to clear all cookies, before you start using the computer.
- Log off Public Computers
Remember that public computers and networks are public, which means they are accessible to all. So make sure, after using a public computer, you log off it. You also don’t want to set the browser to remember any passwords you may have entered into the computer, such as email accounts and online banking.
- Secure Your Personal Data
To reduce the risk of someone stealing your identity, you’ll want to ensure that you never share personal information, via email, regardless of how confidential it may be. If you need to submit personal information, for a new endeavour, you’ll want to ensure that it is carried out in person.
|Uchenna Ani-Okoye is a former IT Manager who now runs his own computer support website https://www.compuchenna.co.uk.|