As information technology develops further, the threat of getting your PC hacked becomes more and more serious. Hackers are becoming more and more proficient at their craft, their tools are constantly improving, and it seems like the average user that doesn’t know much about IT is an easy target for these virtual vultures.
However, there are a couple of things that you, the average user, can do in order to significantly increase your PC’s level of protection and greatly reduce the chances of it being targeted by a successful cyber attack. Today I’m going to be giving you a few tips on how to do just that, so it’s time to listen up.
Update Your Software
If you don’t regularly update all the software that you use on your PC (especially your operating system and your browser), you’re at a greater risk of being targeted by a malicious cyber attack because you’re missing out on all the latest security patches and fixes that come with those updates. One of the main reasons updates get released these days is primarily security, and updates are almost always completely free, so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be using the latest version of your software. It’s more secure, more stable and probably has an additional few useful features that your old version does not.
Use a VPN
One of the quickest ways to set up your PC with some serious security is to browse through a virtual private network. In general, proxy tools such as a VPN make your connection to the Internet significantly more private, give you a new IP address and encrypt your traffic with a secure tunneling protocol.
Additionally, most good VPN providers these days have excellent anti-virus software installed on their servers, which is another layer of security that malware has to go through before reaching your PC and causing any potential damage. Make sure to get a VPN that uses a modern security protocol such as OpenVPN and doesn’t keep logs of your traffic, and you’ll significantly decrease the chances of ever being the victim of a cyber attack.
An average PC user that doesn’t know that much about security will most likely access their PC through an administrator account, because it simply makes things easier; you don’t need special privileges to install any software, you can change up your PC’s settings as you please, etc. And while this might be more convenient, it’s also a potential security risk. Why? Well, because when your PC gets infected with malware, being logged into an Administrator account means that the malware will also get elevated privileges to change stuff on your PC – privileges that it wouldn’t otherwise possess, had you been using a standard user account.
Linux-based operating systems have had this corrected years ago, and now your default account on any Linux distribution most likely won’t have access to elevated privileges, while on Windows this is still not the case. This is one of the reasons why a Linux OS is more secure – there’s an extra fail-safe in place to keep both you and any malware from causing any potential damage. So if you’re concerned about security and keeping yourself safe from a virus intervention, just take away some of your own privileges, and if need be you can always get into an Administrator account if you need to. It’s just a bad idea to stay logged into it all of the time.
Finally, the most important piece of advice that I can give you is to simply be careful what you look at online, and more importantly, what you download onto your computer. Websites with malicious software are everywhere, and if you’re not extra-vigilant about telling them apart from regular websites, there’s a good chance that you’ll be tricked into downloading dangerous malware directly onto your PC.
Always double-check everything to see if a certain piece of software is legit or just another scam. Google is great at detecting and marking unsafe websites, so if you’re ever uncertain, just search the website via Google and see if it lets you in without a warning. If it does, you’re probably safe from anything you can encounter on the site.
Thomas lives and works as an Information Security Analyst in Baton Rouge, though his family originates from Italy. He is 28 years old, adores outdoor activities and he spends most of his time working from home in the company of his dog Reggie and his two goldfish. When it comes to humans, his favorite one is his girlfriend, Clara.