The 6-Step Checklist for a More Secure Computer

If you use a computer at home or at work and let’s face it, there are very few of us who don’t, in one form or another, then you need to face up to a key reality of modern life: the heightened risk of a cyber-attack, hack, or malware is ever-present. A threat that can jeopardise your personal data when at home, or serious, and extremely costly problems for your work.

As an organisation, we work closely with SMEs across South Wales in helping ensure their IT infrastructure not only works efficiently but also that they’re set up to minimise the risk of damage when (and it usually is a case of when not if) an attack strikes.

Of course, as a PC user, there are things that you can do too, in order to help maintain a more secure computer. Below, we’ve listed six of the most common-sense and simple tasks that can make a difference to your PC safety; our six-step checklist for a more secure computer...

Add a Complex Password

While the security of any computer system and wider IT network entails more than just password protection, they do still remain an integral part of your overall security measures.

That said, hackers love a challenge, and using your daughter’s name (even if you add the year of her birth at the end) can be overcome by a moderately skilled online ne’er do well.

Consider a somewhat more complex, seemingly random password for your network. As IT consultants on PC security, we’d recommend opting for a longer password of randomly sequenced letters, numbers and (if allowed) symbols.

It’s also good practice to make each password you use unique. Using the same password for different access points can increase the chance of breach.

Using Effective Anti-Virus Software

We’d like to think that everyone is aware of the importance of having anti-virus software uploaded onto their computer. However, it’s still a surprise to us to find that many users neglect their application.

Furthermore, having anti-virus software on your computer is one thing. Ensuring that it’s robust and up-to-date is quite another. Viruses and malware change on a daily basis so it’s vital that your software is updated regularly to help it remain viable against any threats.

Updating Your Software

Speaking of keeping things up to date, ensuring that you’re using the most up-to-date version of the software you use online is also an important barrier to cyber-breach. Software that is out of date in increasingly more vulnerable to attack.

If your provider has sent you an update or security patch, then it’s for good reason. Don’t delay, and certainly don’t ignore.

2-Step Authentication

While your complex password will help, it’s by no means an invulnerable barrier. This is why we would always recommend, where possible, the use of a 2-step or multi-step authentication process to gain access to your system.

These can include additional security questions, a PIN, code or memorable question.

Do You Trust Your Email Downloads?

One of the most common ways that a virus or data hack can strike is via email. We’ve spoken before about the prevalence of phishing – links or rogue downloads in an email that an unsuspecting recipient inadvertently opens.

Don’t be that unsuspecting person.

If you’re not sure or who has sent you the email, or have any reason to doubt it, then err on the side of caution and don’t open it.

Plus, speak with your IT consultant about ensuring that you have a robust anti-spam protection in place.

Be Aware

Finally, the reality is that we must all be alert and aware of the risks when we are on our PCs and working online.

Pay attention to your emails, be wary of software downloads if you don’t know where they came from. And keep a watch on the websites you visit; recognising those sites that offer the HTTPS security (the padlock) symbol.

How we use our software and maintaining a daily vigilance is as important as any other factor.  Anti-virus and spam software, and a range of other high-level security measures all play a key role in keeping us safe. But we must never rely solely on these factors, as our own behaviour can undo their work.

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Related blogs: SabreICT

Tagged with: cyber attack, cyber protection, cyber security

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