April 11, 2019
1) Make sure your operating system is patched. When it comes to computers, it's a never-ending battle between good guys and bad guys. The bad guys break into your computer. The good guys patch it up to stop them. The bad guys find a new hole. This cycle will go on until the end of time. To keep the bad guys out, make sure your computer is set to automatically update so that every time a hole is found it can be patched as soon as possible.
2) Have anti-virus, and keep it updated. If you're using Windows 10, you already know how great Windows Defender is. But if you don't trust that Microsoft is looking out for your best interest, try using a third party anti-virus like Bitdefender, Avast, or Avira -- Just to name a few that we enjoy using. These programs will regularly scan your computer for malicious content.
3) I've said it before and I'll say it again. Back up your data, then back it up again. If you're not sure what I'm talking about, check out our previous newsletter on backing up your data.
4) Choose strong passwords. If your password to log into your computer, and your email, and your Facebook are all "password123", you're doing yourself a disservice and painting yourself as an easy target. Try using lengthier passwords. Common recommendations are to use a mix of lower-case, upper-case, numbers, and symbols. But be careful with this advice. The man behind today's common "complexity password requirements", Bill Burr, admits that he was wrong about this. Your best bet is to have a password randomly generated for you. Short of that, try making your passwords longer by appending multiple unrelated words together. Something like 'BlueTuesdayLunchWedding' would be a very difficult password for a hacker to get through. And if that won't meet the demands of some website's complexity requirements, throw an exclamation point on there.
If you find it hard to keep track of all your crazy new passwords, there's an extension for your web browser that acts like a safe for all your passwords called LastPass. LastPass uses one main password that you choose and it keeps track of all your passwords and user names across the web!
5) Control physical access to your computer. This goes without saying, but don't let someone you don't know or don't trust use your computer. The physical security is just as important as the logical.
6) Use the internet safely. Don't visit shady websites or accept less than reputable offers from websites or emails. A foreign prince doesn't need $100 from you in order to give you $1,000. And Microsoft will never contact you out of the blue needing to remote into your desktop. Most viruses are contracted from pop-ups stating they have something to offer that's in your best interest, or links in emails from a scammer pretending to be someone you know. Be mindful of the links you choose to follow. A solid anti-virus and ad blocker on your computer will help prevent that.
7) Finally, stay informed. Stay up to date with the latest in what's happening (you're already a step ahead by being subscribed to our newsletter). And if you ever have a question, call us to help make informed decisions on what's best for keeping you secure.
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