While there’s no denying that incredible advancements have been made in the field of cybersecurity since the turn of the century, there’s no escaping the multitude of threats every Internet user faces. Viruses, malware and other cyber threats are perpetually on the rise, and if you regard cybersecurity as an afterthought, you’re liable to find yourself adversely impacted by them. Fortunately, taking a stand against these threats isn’t an uphill climb. Putting the following pointers into practice can effectively protect your computer – and other Internet-enabled devices – from a growing array of digital dangers.
Invest in High-Quality Security Software
These days, many individuals are embracing the belief that dedicated security software is a thing of the past. After all, given how many onboard security features modern operating systems boast, investing in outside security software is liable to seem like overkill. However, while this line of thought is somewhat understandable, it’s also deeply flawed. As convenient and effective as the aforementioned features may be, they’re still no substitute for dedicated security software. So, if your computer and other Internet-enabled devices are currently unequipped with such software, you’d do well to correct this.
In the quest to find dedicated security software that meets your needs, keep an eye out for programs from renowned developers with a history of creating first-rate cybersecurity programs. The right software will provide around-the-clock protection from viruses, malware and other digital dangers, so when seeking out dedicated security programs, exercise discernment. Your Internet security may depend on it.
Only Download Software from Trusted Sources
Software installation files are among the most common vehicles through viruses and malware spread. So, if you’re not careful about the sources from which you download assorted software and apps, you’re liable to find yourself at the mercy of seasoned cyber criminals. With this in mind, make a point of downloading software exclusively from stores, websites and developers with a proven track record of trustworthiness. For added protection, use a dedicated antivirus program to scan downloads and installation files for threats before proceeding to move forward.
By the same token, you should also avoid downloading pirated software. In addition to potential legal ramifications, this is liable to result in your computer or other devices falling victim to nasty viruses.
Be Careful with Suspicious Links
Clicking the wrong link can send you directly to a site that’s swimming with viruses and malicious software. As such, you’ll need to be careful about clicking the various links you’re presented with. For example, you should always approach links found in social media posts, text messages and emails with the utmost caution. Even if a link is contained within a message that purports to be from a trusted friend, family member or acquaintance, you shouldn’t let your guard down, as it’s possible that you or the contact in question was hacked. So, if anything about an email, text message or social media DM from someone you know seems suspicious, make sure to speak directly to this person before clicking on links or downloading any attachments found therein.
Additionally, it’s fairly easy to identify an unsafe link. The next time you’re presented with an unfamiliar link, go to a site that verifies link authenticity and provides the URL in question. Google Safe Browsing works particularly well for such purposes.
Amend Unsafe Browsing Habits
As addressed above, visiting an unsecure website can have some truly undesirable consequences. Since a single visit to such a website stands to compromise your cybersecurity severely, it’s strongly recommended that you get a handle on any unsafe browsing habits. For instance, if a website generates a warning message from your browser, dedicated security program or operating system, you’d do well to avoid entering it.
Similarly, suppose a site lacks Secure Socket Layer (SSL) protection. In that case, this should be regarded as a red flag, particularly if the site involves sharing of password or financial information. To confirm whether a site enjoys this level of protection, simply look at the URL and confirm that it begins with “HTTPS” instead of “HTTP.”
Don’t Wait to Install System and Software Updates
Many patches and updates for your operating system are created to combat new and emerging cyber threats. This means that the longer you wait to install them, the more vulnerable your devices will remain to the threats they were designed to shield you from. Unfortunately, when it comes to installing important updates promptly, many of us fall short. Since the prompt installation of these updates often requires us to stop using our devices for short periods, we tend to place them on the back burner – which sometimes results in them being forgotten about entirely.
While it’s true that dropping what you’re doing can be a bit of an inconvenience, this minor annoyance is infinitely preferable to being hit with a virus. So, regardless of what you’re in the middle of when a patch or update hits, make a point of installing it posthaste. The more up-to-date your O.S. and software are, the safe your devices and data are likely to be.
Think Twice Before Using Public Wi-Fi
While public Wi-Fi can be a convenient way to access the Internet outside of your home or workplace, public networks tend to be far less secure than private ones, making them prime targets for data thieves and other cybercriminals. That being the case, you should be extra-cautious whenever you use public Wi-Fi and avoid entering passwords and other personal information via public networks, especially without protecting a good virtual private network (VPN).
Every time you fire up your computer, smartphone or any other Internet-enabled device, you’re taking a risk. With viruses and malware seemingly hiding in every nook and cranny of the web, it pays to take a proactive approach to cyber threats. So, if your current digital defenses leave something to be desired, it’s in your best interest to bolster them promptly. Luckily, with the tips outlined above at your disposal, this should prove anything but difficult.