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Ever wondered what to do to protect yourself when you're online without knowing the complexity of coding? Well, you're in luck, read along to find out more.

12

Jul, 19

Securing Yourself Online Pt 1

Cybersecurity is a very broad topic which is growing day by day and it seems very complicated. So how can we apply it to our daily life? Should I have special knowledge? Will I be able to secure myself without professional help? Well, you’re in luck! I will provide a guide to help you to improve your digital security with as little hassle as possible!

The first thing to note is that anyone, anywhere, anytime can be a victim of hacking (including you), but there are a few things you can do to reduce the risk.

Use strong passwords for your emails and social media. Seems pretty straight forward right? Well, there are a few things that go under ‘strong password’.

Never use the same password for different online accounts. But why? Well if one account gets hacked, the other accounts will soon follow. To stay safe, you can use anti-spyware software/tools which will remove spyware from your system. The best way to secure your online accounts is by using two-factor authentication where you will have to confirm your identity twice: once from the credentials entered and then using a code sent to your phone or a similar method of authentication.

Stay safe from spyware. In short, spyware is a type of malware which collects sensitive information without the victim’s knowledge. Here are some warning signs of having spyware installed on your system:

  • the computer is slow when running/opening some applications
  • random pop-up windows appear all the time
  • error messages start to appear unexpectedly
  • the homepage of your browser has been modified without your input for said action.

These tips will also help you to avoid spyware (prevention is always better than cure):

  • Don’t click any suspicious links or pop-up windows
  • Don’t answer to unexpected queries or simply choose No
  • Be careful when downloading free applications

Keep Windows and apps up to date. Software updates come with new features and fixed security issues. If the software is not updated, then you leave vulnerabilities for hackers to enter your system. The updates are annoying but it’s better to spend a few minutes to fix the vulnerable parts rather than face a massive loss in the future. Software like Java, Adobe Acrobat Reader, Adobe Shockwave or browsers like Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, and Internet Explorer should always have the latest versions because cybercriminals are constantly trying to find security holes in them. To make life easier and safer you can either set your apps to automatically update or even download a tool to do this for you.

Use a standard user account in Windows. You can set different levels of rights and privileges when using Windows accounts. Be sure to use a standard account daily instead of using the administrator account. Only an administrative account (once hacked) can make major changes like deleting system files or installing malicious software. If you use a standard account, then before any major changes, Windows will prompt you to provide administrative credentials preventing unauthorized actions happening without your knowledge.

Keep UAC (User Account Control) ON. UAC is the window which pops up asking your permission before you make changes in the system. UAC monitors the changes happening in your system and prompts before installing or removing applications or before running some applications and this prevents the suspicious software from making changes since it lets you know before it initiates the process.

However, any security expert will agree that there is no such thing as an impenetrable cybersecurity solution. However, with the tips and tricks here you would no longer belong to the majority of internet users who do not follow these steps and are at risk. Stay safe!!

Susith Nonis

I always had a passion for computers and how it works always fascinated me. I love to reasearch and share the knowledge with others in the simplest way possible.