As a developer, perhaps someone studying cutting-edge ideas like getting started with web accessibility, the last thing you probably have on your mind is online security. You are too busy focusing on innovation and making a positive contribution to your field.
Still, if your computer system is compromised by a virus, everything comes to a standstill. Although it might seem a remote possibility that you attract the attention of a hacker, you have to understand that the dissemination of malware is completely impersonal.
How to Protect Your Information From The Dark Side
Although you may be interested in improving the world through technology, not everyone is like you. In fact, there are people who go out of their way to sabotage human progress. While they may be as enamored by technology as you, they use it in a different way. Sadly, they see advances in technology and inter-connectivity as a good way to gain personal benefits by stealing, exploiting, and harming innocent people.
Here are 8 ways to safeguard your PC from the dark side of the Internet so that you can work on your projects to improve humanity without an unpleasant interruption:
1. Think encryption.
Encryption need not be complex. If you need to secure your data for any reason, you will find that flash key encryption is easy to use and affordable. A USB 3.0 flash drive that uses PIN code access with military grade XTS-AES 256-bit hardware encryption is particularly secure. It’s also easy to use because it’s based on plug-and-play technology.
2. Use comprehensive security software.
The best way to avoid conflicts between different types of security software is to get a comprehensive suite. PCMag describes the features of the best security suites: “Most security vendors offer at least three levels of security products, a standalone antivirus utility, an entry-level security suite, and an advanced suite with additional features.
Most entry-level suites include antivirus, firewall, anti-spam, parental control, and some sort of additional privacy protection such as protection against phishing sites, those frauds that try to steal your passwords. The advanced “mega-suite” typically adds a backup component and some form of system tune-up utility, and some also add password managers and other security extras.”
3. Perform regular backups of all your critical information.
Store all your important files separately on a CD-ROM or zip disk, and automate backup with software backup applications.
4. Don’t respond to chain email.
Friends often forward chain mail for fun, but it might not be as innocent as it looks, particularly if it asks for personal information. Also, avoid downloading files from people you know unless you can verify that the file is safe.
5. Keep an eye on your credit reports.
It’s not easy to be aware when your identity is stolen. Unless you receive threatening letters from creditors demanding payment for things you never purchased, you may not even know that your identity has been compromised. One way to stay aware is to monitor your credit reports at least once a year. You will be able to detect if someone has been using your financial information without your consent.
6. Monitor your children’s online behavior.
By installing parental control software, you will be able to monitor your children’s activities when they go online. This will alert you if they have accessed dangerous or undesirable website and shared any personal information that could negatively impact you or your family.
7. Be sure to secure your wireless network.
Wi-Fi security is essential because without it you are vulnerable to a hacker tuning into the radio waves of your wireless network and intruding into your PC. Hackers can steal your information from kilometers away. Even those not interested in intruding into your computer might decide to use your Wi-Fi connection for their own Internet browsing needs instead of paying for their own Internet services. Either way, you are placing yourself in a position of unnecessary risk.
8. Be discriminating about downloading free software from the Internet.
Some free software that you can download from the Internet may be loaded with adware or spyware. This software can be quite sophisticated and here are some things that the most advanced spyware can do:
- It can track all your keystrokes.
- Software’s can monitor all your Internet usernames and passwords when you login to your website accounts.
- It can capture and transmit all your personal information to others.
- Software can hijack your browser and direct it to a fraudulent website.
Besides getting these programs via a freeware offer that promises to help you improve your business productivity or speed up your Internet, you can also acquire this malicious software by simply clicking on an interesting banner advertisement.
The best rule of thumb when you come across freeware is to only download and install software from a trusted website after you have read the end-user license agreement.
Studying ways to protect yourself online and buying the best software protection you can afford—from a comprehensive security software suite to a hardware firewall—is something that is worth doing.
While you hope you that you never have to encounter the dark side of the Internet, when you do successfully repel an unexpected attack, you’re glad that you made the investment in time and money to stay safe. 🙂