People often consider or misunderstand computer security as something very technical and complicated. Well, when you get into its details, it can be, but the primary and most important practices are actually very simple.
What is Cyber Hygiene and Computer Security?
The practices and steps that computer users take to maintain system health and improve online security is known as cyber hygiene.
The protection that is set up for computer systems which keeps critical information from unauthorized access, theft and misuse, is known as computer security. For the protection of computer systems and networks, as well as for preventing potential malicious activity, there are various practices in place that we should be aware of, to be safe and secure.
Why is Computer Security Important?
With the increase in digital use, protecting computers and the data in them has become even more important. Hackers are praying over the business network to conduct fraudulent activities, steal sensitive information associated with businesses simply by gaining access. We can protect ourselves and our organization’s computers with efficient computer security systems. Practicing good computer ethics, as well as cyber hygiene are both essential in keeping your computer safe.
Computer Security Threats, and Vulnerabilities
The potential risks that have the capability of affecting or spoiling the normal functioning of computer systems are referred to as computer security threats. With the rise in digitization, cyber threats are increasing each day. Let’s walk you through the major threats and vulnerabilities:
A computer virus is a malicious program that is installed into a computer (without the knowledge of its user) which can replicate itself and infect all the programs and files in the system. These viruses make the victim’s computer defective or even completely unusable.
2. Computer Worm
A software program that can undergo replication from one computer system to another without the need for human interaction is known as a computer worm. These worms use up all of the hard disk space and can create a disaster in the system’s resources by modifying or deleting files and introducing other malicious programs into the system.
The frequency of phishing has increased lately and we’ve all heard of it; it is a form of cybercrime, which involves tricking potential targets to give away their personal or critical information like banking details or passwords or OTP. Even though most of us are aware of such attacks, it is very easy to fall victim to phishing.
A network of connected computers that have been compromised by hackers is known as a botnet. The infected computer, which now is the ‘bot’, is used for carrying out malicious activities in large-scale attacks.
This is a type of monitoring software that can track and record all keyboard activities by a user without their knowledge. It is one of the common ways to steal a person’s login credentials.
Healthy Computer Security Practices for Cyber Hygiene
Attacks and cyber crimes are becoming inventive day by day, the need for computer security practices is becoming more and more vital. Listed below are a few of the healthy computer security practices that one must be aware of, keep your computers and systems safe:
1. Use Antivirus and Antimalware
Antivirus and antimalware software should not only be used but also must be updated continuously to keep pace with the ever-changing threat landscape.
2. Enable Automatic Software Updates
Software updates also come along with new security patches. Hence enabling this update automatically will keep your system updated regularly while also patching updated and new versions of security.
3. Be Careful About Programs You Download and Run
Free games, ringtones, and music from unknown websites can have hidden malware. Email attachments are the primary source of virus infection, and hackers can send emails using your friend’s or colleague’s email id with an attached file that is disguised as a document, photo, or program, but is actually a virus, which can infect your computer when opened.
4. Don’t Trust Pop-Up Notifications
Phishers prey on people hoping to open pop-up windows or other malicious links that could have viruses and malware embedded in them. Therefore, it’s important to also be careful and cautious of links and attachments in emails from senders you don’t recognize.
With just one click of your, hackers can gain access to your computer network. Never enter personal information in an unknown email, pop-up webpage, which you didn’t initiate. If you’re unsure about the legitimacy of an email or other communication, always contact the security department.
5. Use Strong Passwords and Authentication
Using strong passwords are the first and the most computer security practise we all can follow. Using a smart combination of special characters, numbers and letters can make your password strong. Aslo by enabling multi-factor authentication (or 2-factor authentication) you protect sensitive data by adding an extra layer of security, leaving hackers with almost no chance to log in. Even if a hacker gains your password, they would still need your second and maybe third “factor” of authentication, such as a security pin, your fingerprint, or your voice.
6. Don’t leave Your Computer Unattended
Be it your workspace, or co-working space or a cafe, never leave your computer or laptops unattended. Or at least make sure to enable the lock pin before you leave your desk. An open computer can give access to the majority of your credentia and personal information and easy access for hackers.
Being aware of cyber hygiene practices and following them regularly is a must in today’s digital world. Even basic cyber hygiene practices aid in maintaining a sound computer security for our devices and systems.