With exponential growth in technology over the past few decades, cybercrime has been steadily increasing as well. Did you know that in the past year, there were more than a thousand reported data breaches in the US? Since the dawn of the internet, there has always been the risk of cybercrime and data breaches in various industries. Many of those were ethical, which implies that companies used to hire hackers to test their software’s defenses. However, quite a few of those breaches were as real as they could get. Remember the Melissa virus of 1999 that affected hundreds of huge conglomerates, including Microsoft?
While data security and cyber safety may have improved by leaps and bounds over the years, potential hackers have often proven to be one step ahead. Most recently, in 2018, the world-famous Marriott Hotels group realized that their customer data was being accessed by a remote hacker for years. They did eventually manage to take care of the breach, but it cost them over $25 million in fines, damages, and remuneration.
These devastating instances may prompt you to think – if vast, well-secured organizations like Microsoft and Marriott struggle to tackle cybercrime problems, then how could you, a regular bloke (though, of course, you may be extraordinary in your work), protect your personal computer from potential cyber-attacks? The possibility of threats becomes more and more likely if you tend to use your PC often, be it for work or personal use.
No need to worry anymore! Our cybersecurity experts have come together to compile a list of highly effective tips and tricks to safeguard your computer from most kinds of online attacks which are prominent in 2021. You simply need to spend five minutes of your valuable time reading this guide, and another hour or two in installing the required protective software to secure your PC from the most common, and even a few sophisticated cybercrimes of the generation. You will indeed be insured from hackers for life if you were to implement all the tips that follow.
Keep your OS Up to Date
There are many reasons why operating systems (OS) like Windows and Mac regularly dole out updates. One of the most important reasons is to secure your device from the latest malware and viruses. Internet viruses keep spreading until they have affected every system in the world. A software update acts as a vaccine. It helps curb the spread of that virus or malware by securing your PC with the most rigid, unassailable applications that block its pathway.
Install an Antivirus Software
Sometimes, even the most recently updated OSes are not able to keep dynamic viruses away from your system. That is where a dedicated antivirus program comes into the picture. As the name suggests, antivirus software is created for the sole purpose of repelling the latest viruses from your PC, regardless of where they may seep in from. A top-notch antivirus tool has the capability to neutralize any threat, old or new, that may cross your path.
However, you need to ensure that a particular antivirus is perfectly compatible with your OS otherwise, it will not function as it should. It may even give harmful malware access to your system. It is not always certain that a dedicated antivirus for macOS would work the same way for a Microsoft Windows system. Check the OS requirements of the antivirus brand before installing it. Additionally, don’t forget to go through its other specifications to ensure that it will indeed work perfectly on your PC.
Update your Firewall
A firewall usually comes pre-installed on your PC or laptop. It may seem like a silent, meaningless app that runs soundlessly in the background, but it is one of the most important additions to your device’s security. A firewall protects your PC from malicious software on the internet. It always warns you when you are about to access a website suspected of unlawful behavior, thus preventing the entry of any possible viruses or malware that the portal may contain. Don’t hesitate to install a third-party firewall if required, unless, of course, it isn’t a reputable brand. Most of all, hit the ‘Install’ button whenever your firewall pops up an update.
Passwords and PINs
Many websites use passwords to secure your accounts, but a few of those have an additional layer of security in the form of a Personal Identification Number (PIN). If you have various accounts on different portals, be social media websites or community forums, always ensure to add a different password and PIN for each account. Most importantly, don’t use your online bank account password on any other website. That is because bank accounts are usually more secure than most social or commercial websites; and if your account on the latter gets hacked, then there is a high possibility that your bank account will be breached too.
Importance of Data Backup
It doesn’t matter if you are the CEO of a multinational conglomerate or the owner of a small business. Your data is the most critical part of your enterprise. Most malicious software and viruses are developed for the sole purpose of deleting any database or information structure that they come across. The best way of securing your data is by backing it up on a cloud or an external hard drive. Be sure to subscribe to the most secure cloud services in the market, or simply purchase a 1 TB+ hard disk drive to backup your important business or personal data.
While there may be a number of security software and data backup mechanisms out there, ultimately, it is you who is responsible for securing your personal computer from external threats. After all, prominent cybersecurity specialists can only do so much for you. In the end, you need to install all the available software to secure your device from potential hackers. So always remember to update your computer’s OS and firewall, install the antivirus app that is ideal for your system, secure your online accounts with the strongest passwords, and keep backing up your data on a regular basis. Only then could you hope to keep potential hackers at bay.