We are more dependent on our computer systems than we ever have, today. From the many malicious files, to identity theft and system malfunctions, any one of these disruptions can cause a great deal of problems for the average family. No matter the level of expertise you may possess, safe computing principles, combines both physical and software protection, whether it’s using the appropriate software or adhering to certain rules when handling your PC. It’s imperative that you know both.
Below are 10 tips that you can use to help protect your system from any potential mishaps, issues, errors, viruses and hackers.
1. Enhance Your Network Security
Besides making your logins safer, you also want to ensure that your connections are secure. When you’re in the workplace or at home, you’re probably on a router that you must access using a password that encrypts all your data. But when you’re out and about, you may have to use a public Wi-Fi network. The problem with these public networks is that they lack the typical security measures.
This makes it very easy for a hacker to access the information on your device. To secure yourself, while on one of these public networks, you may want to consider using a VPN or virtual private network. VPN is a piece of software that will create a secure connection between your system and the network, ensuring your safety while surfing.
2. Beware Of Keyloggers
Keyloggers are basically adware programs that record your key strokes, or everything that you do while on your system. These programs can be loaded into your system, very easily, especially via public networks, without the user ever knowing. For this reason, you want to ensure that you do not type any confidential information into your mobile or computer devices while attached to an unsecure network.
3. Use a VPN
When you use a virtual private network to connect to your work system or network, you can ensure that everything is safe, and this is also true, when on public networks. All data that travels to and from your system will be encrypted, which means hackers will not be able to steal this data.
4. Log Out Of Public Networks
When using a public computer or connecting to a public network, it’s very important that you log off, after use. Whether it’s logging out of a system or disconnecting from a network. Users should also make sure that they uncheck any boxes that mention “remembering login details”, because the next person that uses that public system, will be able to access your password data.
5. Keep Your System Up-To-Date
Make sure all the software on your computer is up-to-date, with the latest patches and security updates. Make sure you have automatic updates turned on, so that you don’t miss a thing, and make sure your internet security software is configured to run on a regular basis, maybe once a week or once a month.
6. Clean Out Your Files
Before and after you use a public system, it’s very important that you do some spring cleaning, such as, removing all your temporary files, data in the recycle bin, cache and history data etc. It’s also important that your cookies data is cleaned, before you start using the computer, and after you’ve finished, to prevent any of your usage from being recorded.
7. Take Cautions with Portable Drives
It’s very important that you take care, when using portable flash devices in public systems. There are software that can be automatically loaded into your portable device, the moment you connect it to one of these public systems. These programs can then proceed to steal confidential data from you. So you want to avoid connecting drives with confidential data on them, to public systems.
8. Back Up Your Data
It’s not uncommon for files to get corrupted, for data to be automatically deleted – these things happen all the time. If you have any sensitive data on your drive that you simply cannot do without then you should back it up. It’s recommended that you used a secondary storage location, like an external hard drive, cloud service or a flash drive.
9. Don’t Put Too Much Information on Social Media Sites
Most people don’t think twice, when it comes to putting their personal information all over social media. For a great many people, you can find information, such as their home address, phone number, birthday and much more on their social media profile.
To protect yourself from any potential identity theft, it’s very important that you limit the amount of information that you disclose on these websites.
10. Consider Policies
Whenever using a public system, it’s very important that you’re aware and mindful of any policies surrounding its usage. Usually it’ll be placed somewhere near the system, maybe on the wall, or in the system itself. It will usually tell you what rights you have, to the system at hand, and what you cannot do, while using the computer.
Uchenna Ani-Okoye is a former IT Manager who now runs his own computer support website where he writes extensively on PC support questions and answers.