Top 9 checklist for Computer Security Day
When was the last time you checked your Firewall settings? Do it today on Computer Security Day.
November 30 is Computer Security Day, which means it’s the day to check your computer and all the data it contains, is secure. But what does that really involve? To help get you started, we’ve put together a list of the Top 9 things you should check right now.
1. Make sure your anti-virus software is running and up-to-date
When was the last time you checked to see if your anti-virus software was running? Does your software have an auto-renewal function or do you need to purchase a new subscription? Today is the perfect time to check your anti-virus software is working properly and up-to-date.
2. Do not connect to unknown Wi-Fi networks
There are offers to connect to free public Wi-Fi networks just about everywhere you go, from shops and cafes to airport lounges and there is a huge temptation to use it rather than chew through your data allowance, but be careful. Not all public Wi-Fi networks are secure. It’s recommended that you do not connect to your online bank or make online purchases over an unsecure Wi-Fi network.
3. Shop on quality, well-known websites
If you’re shopping online, always check the URL – it must start with HTTPS. That ‘S’ on the end means you’re on a secure connection. Your data, such as your credit card details, will be encrypted before being sent across the internet.
4. Check your Windows Firewall is turned on
Make sure you’re familiar with your computer’s general settings. Today is the day to check your Windows or Mac Firewall is turned on, check your browser history and even delete those temporary internet files.
5. Update your software
You can select your software to auto-update. While there can be small disruptions to your normal computer start-up routine due to an auto-update, it’s a small price to pay for using the latest version of software from accredited providers that usually incorporates bug fixes, updates and security patches, among other things.
6. Important files are backed up
It’s a golden rule, but it’s one worth emphasising from a security perspective. Always back-up your work, which isn’t the same as saving it. If your computer does come under attack from a virus or even a power surge, your hard-drive will usually suffer. Either back up using an external hard drive or try one of the many secure cloud storage services on offer.
7. Control access to your machine – especially in the office
This sounds straightforward, but the physical security of your laptop, tablet or desktop is just as important as its technical security. The best example is the office environment, where we might have the latest, tightest security available, but unless you’re locking your machine when you leave your desk, it’s just a case of someone sitting in your chair, still logged in with your ID and typing that no-holds-barred resignation email for you. If you’re away from your machine, leave it locked.
8. Take care with email
We’ve all heard the scam stories and tales of Nigerian princes asking for money transfers. However, these scams are getting more elaborate. Email scams are getting harder to detect and can include attachments that will infect your computer if you open them. Do not open email attachments from any sender you don’t know. Be wary of emails that ask you to complete online forms and if you’re receiving unsolicited emails, mark them as spam so your email provider can deal with it.
9. Take passwords seriously
Finally, passwords. Using your name, child’s name, birthday or 11111 is a bad idea. Computer hackers and identity thieves aren’t using their brain to crack passwords, they’re using software capable of automatically running every letter combination of the alphabet through your login – in a matter of seconds. Password advice from the experts includes making it longer rather than shorter, using a password manager, spreading special characters throughout your password instead of adding them at the end, and choosing something you will remember – without having to write it down.
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