We’ve faced an unprecedented number of cyber-attacks during the course of the past year, and cyber-security has become a mainstream topic of discussion as a result. However, the majority of users out there are still behind the curve when it comes to keeping their devices safe. Maintaining a good level of cyber-security doesn’t have to be a complicated process, nor do you need to be a tech guru to create an excellent layer of protection that can safeguard you and your family from unwanted intrusions. Here are 4 things that all of us should be doing to create a basic, yet robust form of digital security.
Every device you have needs to have its own, independent anti-virus software installed. Even devices that are connected via networks should be protected individually. Windows 10 has a good, free anti-virus software suite, and there are dozens of other companies that produce freeware or low-cost programs that are just as good. Download and install the software, run a scan, and schedule scans on frequently. It’s also a good idea to run live scans to catch anything malicious that you may stumble on while you’re online.
Malware is similar to viruses, but they don’t always get targeted by anti-virus software. Anti-malware programs perform deep scans in places where these types of bugs get installed on our devices. They provide us with an excellent second layer of protection, and it’s definitely worth the investment.
Surprisingly, few people have passwords on devices that are connected to their home network. While it’s important to keep routers and WiFi access protected, it’s equally important that each device that accesses the network is protected too. This may seem like an unnecessary step, but after the malware/virus attack that deposited spyware in routers around the world earlier this year, it’s the prudent thing to do. Simply establishing a device-specific password can eliminate the chances of someone who was able to penetrate your network to have access to your device.
The majority of spyware, malware or viruses that end up in our devices are unwittingly installed by users who accidentally clicked a dangerous link or installed software they thought was safe. Some real-time scanning programs can identify these risks, but many do not. Consequently, it’s up to us to be attentive to what we open through browsing or checking our mail. Know official website addresses so you can differentiate between legit and fake ones. Don’t open links in text messages or social media messaging apps until you verify the source. Don’t forward emails, texts or chats that contain links until you know for sure they’re safe. A little bit of mindfulness and diligence on our part can virtually-eliminate these types of risks.
Finally, once you’ve covered all of these bases, it’s important that you keep your software updated, and pay attention to when subscriptions expire so they can be renewed before gaps in protection develop. While these steps won’t be completely-foolproof, they will go a long way to keep devices safe and free from being used by unsavory criminals who can wreak havoc on our lives after they gain access.