Cybercriminals are constantly looking for new and updated ways to get hold of sensitive customer information. Your card details, contact information and identity can be accessed by online criminals if you don’t have the right security measures in place. Keeping your computer water-tight in terms of online security will help to prevent this information being lifted in the first place.
The most effective way to keep your computer locked and under key is to keep a strong password. You might be surprised to know that a slight majority of people don’t actually use a password at all on their devices. This is because household computers are often deemed to be safe from intruders. However, if you were to suffer a break-in, all it would take to access your documents would be a simple and quick log in. Try and create unique usernames and a hard-to-predict password. Never go down the factory settings route of choosing ‘1234’, or worse, ‘password.’ While it might seem excessive, changing your password regularly also helps to remove any sense of predictability from your actions.
Anti-malware software has multiple benefits. By downloading it, you might potentially have a number of options at your disposal:
• Regular scans: these help to pick out any pieces of malware that may have crept in through the gaps; for example, as a result of any downloads. You can easily scan your device and then quarantine the virus before deleting it from your system.
• The possibility to remove difficult and problematic viruses from your device entirely. Thorough and professional malware removal is perhaps one of the most appealing features.
• Decryption: some forms of malware work by encrypting your valuable information (ransomware, for example, will ask you for money to get it back). Encryption works by scrambling the data from your end, so intruders can’t access it. Services such as WhatsApp use it, for example, to protect your messages. It can work the other way, however. Cybercriminals can use encryption to their own ends to keep information away from you. Decryption services de-code encryption to remove the need for a ransom.
As well as downloading antivirus software, you should also turn on the standard firewall thatches with your operating system. Firewalls defend against malware, stopping your computer from being exposed and open to unwanted attention from cybercriminals. They aren’t always automatically turned on, however, and so you will want to go into your computer’s security settings and do this yourself. Your antivirus software may also come with a firewall as standard: the more, the merrier.
Don’t Leave Devices Unattended
Remember that one of the biggest threats to your security is still physical theft. A criminal that wants to access your personal files won’t have to go through the ordeal of using a decryption service or trying to convince you to part with details if they can just take your devices and access them immediately — this is even more so if you haven’t put a password on any of your devices.
Don’t Rely on Automatic Recovery
There are many operating systems that come with document recovery as standard, such as Windows 10, for example. However, it is never a good idea to just rely on these as a standard means of accessing your information. Instead, you should regularly back up your data onto a cloud service or onto a hard-drive. Remember, however, that hard-drives can get corrupted if they are exposed to a magnet or are physically damaged. While you may have to pay a subscription fee in order to use a cloud storage service, you won’t run the risk of losing your information so easily.
You should never allow the fact that you have downloaded antivirus software or increased your security settings to ease your approach to online security. Your own attitude to cybersecurity should be aiding any software you download. You should be cautious about WiFi, suspicious downloads and phishing scams in just the same way as you were before — don’t rely on your software to mop up the mess.
If there is anything to be learned about using antivirus software and preventing malware, it’s to never use the standard settings. Go into your security settings, whether that’s on your operating system of on your new antivirus software, and make sure that everything you want and need is ticked. There’s no such thing as ‘too much security,’ particularly when you consider how valuable your information is to others.