You’re surfing the web when you get a pop-up on your computer. You click on it to get it to go away and go about your day. This is a good way to get viruses.
Sure enough, you do a scan later, and you’ve got a few.
If you’re going to protect yourself from hackers, you’re going to need to take a few key digital hygiene steps. It starts with a killer anti-virus program and strong passwords, but it doesn’t end there.
Let us help you keep your computer clean. Check out this guide for a few easy tips on how to stay safe while you’re browsing through the internet.
Arm Yourself With the Right Tools
You can’t shampoo your hair and wash your face without soap. The same concept applies to your computer. It’s hard to fight off trojan horses if you don’t have anti-virus software to warn you of their presence.
If you don’t want to pay for software, there are free options out there that you can download. They may not do as much as the paid programs, but they’ll act as the first line of defense.
Make sure when you’re looking for programs that you’re a little choosy. The last thing you want is to accidently download a virus that claims it can protect your computer.
Use Strong Passwords
If a hacker can guess your passwords, that’s it. They’ll get access to all your private information. This is especially true if you have the bad habit of using the same passcode for all your accounts.
You should use a different one for every site that you’re a part of. If you have a poor memory, write all of your passwords down in a book. Just make sure that you keep it away from prying eyes.
Another tip to take to heart is to not use numbers in a sequence. For example, 123, 789, 54321, etc. Hold off on using information that a hacker could easily get from your social media profile.
Meaning, don’t use your birthday or the year you got married. The last passcode no-no is a little self-explanatory. Don’t use the word “password.”
Keep Everything up to Date
Every day developers look for holes in their systems. When they find something, they usually release a patch that will cover these gaping security holes.
If you don’t download the update, you leave yourself vulnerable to hackers. So when your computer asks you if it can update itself, go ahead and let it. We realize that these notifications never come at a good time, but they’re necessary.
The same goes for your browser. If you get a notification letting you know that Chrome has an update, let it do its thing. It only takes a few seconds out of your day.
If you’re a forgetful person, consider setting your computer to download updates automatically. This is the one surefire way to make sure you never miss one.
If you want to add an extra layer of security, you should set up a multi-factor authorization code. It will keep hackers out even if you choose a weak password option.
To explain what this system is, we’ll give you an example. You log into a website. It stops you before it sends you to your homepage and asks you to enter a code that it’s sent to your phone.
Only when you enter the code are you allowed in. Usually, two-factor authorization is a PIN like in our example, but it can also be a face ID, fingerprint, or voice ID.
Back-up Your Files
Any online security master course from agile-center.com will tell you to back up everything. This way, if a virus makes its way onto your computer, all you have to do is put your files back onto the device once you’ve handled the situation.
There are multiple ways you can go about this. The most popular is to upload everything to cloud services such as Dropbox or Google Drive. It’s simple and easy.
You can also use an external hard drive. Of course, if you lose it, you’ll lose everything on your computer. Still, it’s hard to break them, and they can hold a lot.
Beware of Public Wi-Fi
Freelancers often make use of free public wi-fi to get a change of scenery every now and again. There’s nothing wrong with this as long as you’re careful.
By using a public network, you leave yourself open for hackers to see you. They can intercept any data that you send to another person.
The best way to stop this is by investing in a VPN. It adds a layer of encryption to mask your online presence. You can do all the web surfing you want in peace knowing that you’re off hacker radar.
Phishing is a common cybercriminal trap that’s easy to fall into. They’ll send you a completely legitament email that looks like it’s from your bank or some other official source.
Most of the time, these emails include a link for you to click on. The second you do, you’ll be in trouble. To avoid these scams, make sure you read the entire email.
Look for typos. If the sender is asking you for any personal information, don’t give it. No official organization will ask you to send this kind of info via email.
Stay On Top of Your Digital Hygiene
If you leave yourself vulnerable for a second when you’re web surfing, hackers will jump on the window of opportunity. That’s why it’s important to stay on top of your digital hygiene.
Download anti-virus software, beware of phishing scams, back up all your files, and above all else, keep your passwords safe. Doing so will make your computer a tight iron fortress of defense.
IF ALL ELSE FAILS
If you have been threatened, intimidated or abused online, it can be hard to tell whether this is genuine or not, but if there is a specific and credible threat, we would always advise contacting the police and authorities. Even still, this can be hard and time consuming and as such, if you do have the budget it may be worth contacting a specialist in close protection services who may be able to advise you on your safety.
If you’re looking for more ways to avoid hackers, visit our blog for all the latest security tips and tricks.