With more devices than ever connected to the Internet, it further opens up the doors for cyber criminals to take advantage of users trying to enjoy the technology that they invested in. If you are like me, and most people are, then you spend a good part of your day connected to some sort of electronic device that is connected to the Internet. With new devices coming out each day, attackers have quite a large playing field, so it pays to be vigilant in protecting your devices.
There are numerous reasons why one would want to protect their devices, they could be monetary, identity theft, or even companies concerned about losing intellectual property. Here are some safety tips you can use when using your device.
Get yourself an anti-virus program
This may sound like a trivial task, but you would be surprised on the amount of people who do not have one. Most computers purchased from the store come with some sort of anti-virus program, so most people tend to think they are good to go. The problem is many of these anti-virus programs are not free and need to be activated. Some may be just a 30 or 60 day trial. You need to make sure you activate the program so that it can protect your devices. This leads to another problem, if you have purchased an anti-virus program it was most likely some sort of subscription based agreement that will expire after a certain amount of time. Make sure that you remember when your anti-virus expires. There are so many people out there that forget to renew their subscriptions and in turn are not being protected.
Don’t get click or tap happy
While the tile may be a bit amusing, it is a very important point that most people ignore. Having the urge to click on every pop-up and information bar that comes up is not a good idea. Many malicious programs hide behind these types of messages and are invited in upon a single click of the mouse.
It is important to note that some of these pop-up can be very deceiving and can trick even the seasoned user. The trick is to learn how to recognize some of the tactics that some of these malware writers use.
We have all seen the ads popping up telling us that out computer is infected with a virus and that we need to “click here” to remove it. To mitigate against this one, have faith in your anti-virus program, ( you should have one) learn to recognize its pop up messages and the wordings that it uses. Never click on any thing that pops up in your web browser, even if they look legit.
What about those emails you get with a mysterious link? No, we do not click on those either. The rule of thumb for malware that tries to infiltrate your device this way was to simply only accept links from trusted sources. This rule does not apply any more, because our trusted sources get hacked and they start sending us spam. Just clicking on any link that is sent to you is not a good idea. Resist the urge to click or tap on anything that comes your way.
If you are unsure about a link there are ways to tell if its safe. Many times if you hover over a link it will display the full URL, this way you can see where it leads you to. There are a number of services that will scan links, they are called link scanners. These websites will scan the URL and check it for safety, www.urlvoid.com and www.virustotal.com are just a couple.
Also be aware of shortened links many times they are dangerous. The good news is there are services that can scan those kind of links as well. Check out sucuri.net for that.
Update your computer
This too may seem like a simple thing, but many people simply do not do it. The fact is, that unless you have automatic updating enabled on your device, its not getting updated. Updates are important as they provide security patches and bug fixes. If your device is not being updated then it’s not safe. So always make sure that you have the latest updates installed.
In addition to the tips above, do not use the same password for everything. If one gets compromised then someone may now have access to all of your accounts. Change your password on some sort of a schedule, this could be monthly, quarterly or some other time, just make sure you change it at times. Make sure your password is complex as well use a combination of letters, numbers and special characters. This helps reduce the possibility of it being cracked.
While these tips will help you become a safer device user, it is important to note that even the most secure devices get compromised. However, putting these tips in to practice will help you in the long run. Happy computing!