With the leaking of so many celebrity nude pictures to the Internet for the world to oogle over, the problem of internet security has once again stepped into the limelight, from the questioning of the security of online storage such as iCloud, to a variety of dangerous viruses returning to the limelight, such as the Heartbleed and Shellshock bug.
As scary as the internet can be, with the supposed shadowy legions of hackers and different kinds of harmful programs lying in wait, there are many simple ways to protect yourself from them: So here are a few of them, to keep your computer and your personal details untouched:
- Keep your passwords different and complex: One of the biggest mistakes people make is using the same password for almost every website that they log into, since it would be difficult to memorize all the different passwords. Once a hacker gets a hold of our password, it would be mere child’s play to guess what the others are. Of course, it’s a failure in itself for an undesirable to guess a password in the first place. Avoid the obvious. Go for the complex, and always be different with every website. Especially with your e-mail, since that forms the hub of your online activities.
- Constantly upgrade your antivirus and anti-spyware protection: This is a constant arms race, as viruses and spyware continue to upgrade and find holes in your defences. As the attacks evolve, so too must the defence. Always be on the lookout for the upgrades in your antivirus protection. The same goes for your anti-spyware and firewall protection.
- Be sensitive of security alerts from third parties: One cunning attack by hackers is to have pop-ups explaining that your antivirus software ineffective or that you have so-so viruses; or there is an e-mail from your bank account asking for your account details to “verify” something. If you get an e-mail like this, check with your bank whether there is ever an instant when they need your account details. Most of the time, it will be ‘no’. As for the former, the internet would be the last place that wishes to tell you that you are vulnerable.
- Don’t leave your computer on for too long: Overwhelmingly simple, even brutish. But surprisingly effective. Turning off the computer severs any connection between the hacker and your computer period. Leaving it on for too long increases your vulnerability.
- Be careful when downloading software: Putting aside the illegality of downloading pirated software, the origins of it are also dubious, even dangerous. Any sort of nasty surprise could be lurking within the package. To borrow and overused but not overworked phrase, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” Be vigilant, especially with the comments and ratings to check if what you are downloading is legit- or better yet, just buy the software from the vendor themselves.
- Be wary when it comes to e-mail attachments: You can get the best anti-virus or firewall protection currently in existence, but like in real life, it means almost nothing if you yourself let the enemy in. If a person you don’t know sends you an e-mail with an attachment, never open it, and take with a grain of salt forwarded messages from that you do know.