How To Make Your Computer Safe

computer safety

The first thing to say about computer safety is that you can never really make your computer absolutely safe. The criminals who hack computers to steal personal and commercial data may not always be successful, but they are often one step ahead of many law enforcement agencies.

That said, it’s certainly possible to protect your computer with a high level of security that will significantly reduce the likelihood of you being hacked. You do need to take your cyber security very seriously and be aware of what hackers can do, what they want, and what you can do about it.

You may not think that you’re worth the effort to a criminal, but if you suddenly found your bank account emptied or commercially secret emails placed on the internet, then you’d quickly realize that the security that you were putting off could have serious consequences.

Teaching yourself cyber security

One of the greatest strengths of the internet is that you can learn so much from online information and courses. Search engines will flag up dozens of pages about how to protect your computer from being hacked, and you could be forgiven for wondering where to start.

Taking an online course with a university will give you a deep insight into the business of security and what to do for online protection, with Maryville’s online cyber security degree program being an example of a course that provides a deeper understanding of the constant threats to vital data.

Just how serious are these threats?

A worldwide problem

Major cyber-attacks make media headlines because they are raids on businesses, the public sector (such as the military, health care and security forces), and individuals. They make a difference because they can do immense damage to people, organizations, and institutions, sometimes resulting in life-threatening scenarios.

If an organization such as the CIA is hacked and data is stolen and disseminated online or given to hostile foreign agencies, this potentially puts the lives of agents working abroad in danger. If health-care services are targeted, as they have been recently in the UK, it can lead to the cancellation of operations, chaos in emergency rooms, and disruption to the lives of doctors and nurses and their patients.

Cyber security is now right at the top of the list of what organizations need to put in place to protect themselves, and it should also be at the top of your list. If you fail to secure your personal devices or your business network, you are leaving yourself open to a malicious attack.

The nature of cyber-attacks

Cybercrime falls into two main categories of which you should be aware.

Some hackers are interested in sabotaging computer networks, causing havoc to business operations and vital organizations in the public sector tasked with security of the US. These criminals will work to disable the infrastructure and systems of institutions with the intention of holding them to ransom and blackmailing them to allow their normal services to be resumed.

Others are after your data, especially sensitive and confidential information that can have a disastrous effect on your business. Criminals are looking for personal, financial, and other data, access to intellectual property and trade secrets, and intelligence that relates to how the business operates in relation to prices, bids, and mergers. Losing this data can prove extremely costly as well as being beneficial to unscrupulous competitors if sold on by the hackers.

Protecting yourself

It can be a nightmare to lose any of your data, especially if it is sensitive information such as banking records. You must also ensure you are prepared if something goes wrong; for example, you accidentally delete something. DRaaS from Haycor Computer Solutions uses cutting-edge software to ensure as much of your data can be recovered as possible in the event of a disaster. Better to plan in case of human error.

If, as many now do, you carry out much of your financial and business dealings online, you also need to be aware of ways to protect your highly sensitive data.

Financial institutions in particular have strong cyber security measures in place to prevent bank accounts and credit card accounts from being hacked. They will advise you as to what is a strong password when you’re setting up your account and will also in many cases have a numerical passcode.

When an SSL certificate is present on a site, the site’s URL will display as ‘HTTPS’ and you’ll see a green lock next to the words ‘Secure’ in the URL window. HTTPS indicates that the site protects user data and ensures that the user is connected to an authentic site.

You may have multiple sites that you need to access, and the best security rule of thumb is to have a different password and passcode, if required, for each one. It can be a bit of a hassle trying to remember them all, but write them down in a code that only you will understand when you need to be prompted.

Ensure that your computer has an effective firewall in place that can repel potential attacks, and watch out also for “phishing” emails that may seem to come from your bank. Don’t click on a link or give any personal details – a hacker is looking for data to exploit.

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