February 22, 2012 8 Comments-
If your house was like your computer, it wouldn’t come with locks and you could be burgled from thousands of miles away. Obviously, you’d secure your castle before moving in – so why don’t we do the same for computers? Here are our top five computer security tips that’ll help keep the invaders out.
Most people know the password to Ali Baba’s cave was, “Open Sesame”, but such predictability is also true with computer users. “123456” is the most used password, while “12345”, “123456789”, “Password”, “iloveyou”, “princess” and “rockyou” are all in the top-ten. Pick something unique!
It’s also good practice to use different passwords for different websites. This is because if your password is stolen from one website, the hacker might try to use it to access your accounts elsewhere.
Everyone hates updates – they’re intrusive, irritating and almost constant. Aside from annoying us, however, they’re vital to fix potential security holes.
Your web browser, Windows, OSX, Java and Flash are the most-targeted culprits, so make sure you always accept these updates as soon as they are available. I know, it’s annoying, so here’s a message to developers: stop making us restart our computer to apply an update – we’ll be more likely to do it!
Also, make sure your antivirus software is up-to-date. That includes if your free trial has run-out. No virus protection at all? Shame on you! Norman provides a comprehensive security package (Norman Security Suite PRO), but even if you’re with someone else, remember to update!
If you’ve bought a new router in the last three years, feel free to ignore this section. Otherwise, you should check the security settings on your wifi. Hopefully, you’ll be on WPA or WPA2 – these are up-to-date security formats and you’ll be okay (although WPA2 is much better than WPA).
If it says WEP, however, it’s time to upgrade. WEP is an ancient technology that can be hacked in around 30 seconds. Oh dear. You might be able to change to WPA on the router, but most likely we’re talking about a trip to the shops.
Internet Cafes and Public Wifi
Some people need caffeine to help them through the day, others need the internet. Luckily, internet cafes provide both. Unluckily, each time you log-in to one with your own computer, you’re putting it on a strange network that’s accessible by people you don’t know.
Your non-HTTPS data is particularly at risk from snooping, which means people could read your Facebook communications. For Facebook, you can add HTTPS in your account settings, but other traffic may be less secure. Remember: don’t bank in public.
Should the worst happen, backups are the only way of getting your computer back to exactly how it was. You can do this useful by transferring files onto an external harddrive, or use an off-the-shelf solution like Norman’s (Norman Online Backup) to do all the fiddly-bits for you.
The (somewhat dramatic, I admit) question I ask is – if your house burnt down, and you could restore it with a couple of mouseclicks – would you do it?
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