5 Computer Security Basics Everyone Needs to Know

Published on March 23, 2017

Most of us spend a formidable amount of time on the internet.

Whether it’s researching, shopping, gaming, socializing, or whatever else there is to do online, you’ll want to be sure you’re utilizing computer security basics to keep yourself safe.

Get familiar with these five computer security basics.

These aren’t in order of importance and some will be easier than others. That’s life for ya.

1. Keep Your Software Updated

Okay. This one is pretty big.

We all use a bunch of software every day and there’s a good chance that all of that software is riddled with security issues. Whether it’s Windows, Google Chrome, Adobe’s PDF Reader, Microsoft Office, you name it, security issues are constantly being uncovered.

So when you get those annoying software update notifications, pay attention. When software companies do this, it’s like they’re giving you a security patch for the software.

If you don’t take advantage of this “band-aid”, your unpatched machine is at risk of being attacked.

You just need to arrange in your settings to automatically update software. Or at the very least, set it to alert you to new updates and then install them quickly. Once you do so, leave them enabled so you’ll always have the latest version without having to worry.

Also, keep in mind that browser plug-ins can be a serious security issue. Check out Mozilla’s plug-in check website to be sure your plug-ins aren’t outdated. And yeah, it works in other browsers too.

2. Beware Phishing and Social Engineering

You’ve probably seen them.

Those urgent emails that demand you give them all sorts of information or action will be taken to ensure that your life becomes immediately horrible.

While browsers and email clients try to protect you from phishing attacks, they’re not foolproof. And there are a lot of fools out there.

That’s why you need to be extremely careful when disclosing personal information online. Disclose this information only to legitimate individuals and websites.

If you need to access your bank’s website, go directly to it.  Steer clear of clicking on a link in an email. It could be an express route to an imposter site.

3. Keep Your Personal Information Safe and Secure

This is computer security basics 101.

So in case you haven’t heard these three tips before, memorize them now:

  • Be sure you use strong passwords.
  • Remove personal information from photos and other files.
  • Never use open public Wi-Fi networks without protection.

They’re not tough. And engaging in these three simple acts will go the distance in keeping your personal information safer.

4. Regularly Review Your App Permissions and Security Settings

So hopefully you’ve got your software updates set up to automatically install now.

But don’t forget about stuff like updating the router firmware or cleaning up your app permissions.

Get in the habit of cleaning up your Facebook and Twitter (and others) app permissions. You can use a site like MyPermissions to clean up multiple services, including Google (who might eventually buy Twitter) and Facebook.

5. Make Your Phone’s Lock Code More Secure

Let’s face it. The default 4-digit PIN for iOS isn’t the most secure. The same goes for Android.

So head to your settings to add a digit or two to the PIN. With more digits in the PIN, you’re more secure. Longer is better.

If you have any other computer security basics you’d like to add, throw us a comment.

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