Upgrading Cybersecurity On Your PC In 2021

Upgrading Cybersecurity On Your PC
Technology and its offerings have affected human life in every area, with the biggest influence being the Internet.

The Internet is a part of the regular man’s day-to-day life activities. The internet is gradually turning the world into a global village, providing avenues for people to meet and connect with people from all over.

Global Analytics On Internet Usage

A report published by the international body – Statista, reveals that almost 60% of people all around the world have access to, and actively use the internet. This is estimated to be about 4.66 billion people. Virtually everything can be done online, be it banking, commerce, research, learning, communication, etc. All these are delivered via text, audio & video.

The vast range of tasks that can be accomplished on the internet explains why the average person spends over 3 hours a day surfing. The increase in the number of users, and the time they spend using the internet has also increased the potential risks they are exposed to daily.

Cybercrime On The Rise

Cybercrime has grown alarmingly over the last 5 years, and it is only expected to get worse, as Cybersecurity Ventures estimates that a cyberattack occurs every 11 seconds.

Cyberattacks generally vary in form and degree of damage. This is why some individuals would claim that they have never been attacked. For companies and corporations however, cyberattacks are usually considered very dangerous, and usually require a lot of resources to effectively deal with and prevent.

Risks Facing PC Users

This piece is focused on the potential risks that regular people face while using the internet on their devices, some of which are:

1. Hacking

this is a common way through which users are attacked. Several people make use of their devices without adequately protecting it with firewalls, antiviruses, or VPNs.

Besides poor security defenses, people are also left vulnerable to hackers when they use poor and predictable passwords. Using the same password for all your login purposes can also leave you vulnerable.

Hackers usually target their prey through online forums, random attacks, or via connections like unprotected public Wi-Fi, in an attempt to steal personal details, credit card details, and intellectual property.

2. Cyber-bullies

Many people, especially children, have at one point or the other come in contact with a cyberbully. These bullies are usually found on online chat forums for people with similar interests.

Examples of these are fans of a particular movie franchise, sports fans and gamers.

The anonymity that the internet provides allow bullies to refer to others in rude mannerisms, and with foul language – especially since their identities and location are concealed.

3. Phishing

Research by Symantec shows that about 135 million phishing mails are sent every day. Phishing can be defined as the malicious attempt to gain access to information from a device through insincere means.

There are many forms of phishing, such as catphishing, spear phishing, email phishing, and Whaling. Email and spear phishing are however, the most common ways through which users are attacked.

Phishing links and emails are usually very convincing and are often titled with topics of interest like finance, or health. Once the link is clicked, the security of the PC user is compromised.

4. Ransomware

This is a form of malicious software, and its main aim is to get on the device to take control of it and the information it contains.

They are usually found attached to applications available for download on third-party stores rather than the device’s home store. Malware can come in many forms, with Ransomware being the most popular malware form employed by cybercriminals.

When a ransomware downloads on the device or browser, it scrambles the information available and locks the user out of the device. To regain access to the locked information, the user would have to pay a ransom to the cybercriminal to get the unlock code.

Most cybercriminals in this category prefer to receive payments through cryptocurrency as it cannot be tracked, should the user choose to report to the authorities.

5. Online Scams

Online scammers have gotten increasingly popular, and you can find them on virtually every social media networking platform in the world. They often pose as traders of a particular good or service, offering a “too good to be true” offer to the user.

Many of them try looking for romantic partners, only to have a “huge and urgent financial crisis” a few weeks into the relationship.

Some even go as far as tricking the victim into giving them a credit card and bank information, after which they siphon all the money from the account, leaving the victim in debt.

How To Adequately Secure Your PC

1. Encrypting Files On Your Device

Before you deal with online cyber threats, you need to secure your PC against physical attacks. If you get your system lost or stolen, you wouldn’t want your info out there in public view.

The best way to protect information already on your device is by encrypting the data. Most major operating systems support a method of encryption called full-disk encryption. It encodes every single piece of data on a system and only grants access after a password has been fixed.

Mac users can use FileVault to perform full disk encryption. Windows users can use BitLocker. They can be accessed in the security section in Settings. Note that encryption can take a while depending on the amount of info contained in the PC.

2. Enable Software Updates

A greenhorn in the field of tech considers security updates to be some annoying pop-up on a screen. Individuals in this category reflexively click on the ‘Remind me Later’ button once an upgrade is available.

The fact remains that frequently updating software is one of the best cybersecurity measures. Sure, a software update might come with added features but security is its main benefit. The team behind any operating system is obliged to make security patches to prevent hackers from exploiting loopholes in the software.

Apart from OS updates, you need to occasionally upgrade every piece of software. This includes all your applications and plug-ins. Software that has not received updates in at least a year should be removed from your device. You can also turn on automatic updates for your device.

3. Use A VPN

You must be wondering why you need so many tools for your computer. Keep in mind that even big firms that budget millions for cybersecurity get hacked. This fact tells you that you need to add multiple layers of security before considering your system safe.

After encrypting and protecting data on your device, it is still possible for a hacker to get your information. For instance, when you use a public Wi-Fi network, you run the risk of being spied on. If a hacker is connected to the network, internet data being sent and received can get monitored.

A VPN protects your PC at the network end. When you use a VPN for a PC and connect to its server, your traffic on the internet becomes encrypted. Your IP address also becomes modified, ensuring privacy and anonymity on the internet.

You can use public Wi-Fi without fear when you utilize a VPN. Other benefits VPNs provide include accessing geo-restricted content on the internet. Paid virtual private networks come with better security and improved features, so make sure you opt for one.

4. Perform Firewall Activation

A firewall’s job is to keep threats on the internet away from your computer. This security guard decides what ports to keep open and closed. If it senses a threat, the pathway to your PC becomes shut.

Before most forms of malware get into your computer, they need a communication port. Although you can close a port yourself, it becomes way more efficient when your firewall does it for you.

Activate the in-built firewall on your PC. Operating systems like Windows and Mac come with their firewalls. If you want an added firewall for more security, a few are available on the internet. There are also hardware firewalls that can be integrated with your home router, protecting all devices connected to your system.

5. Download A Trusted Antivirus

Since you have a security guard at your gate, why don’t you employ one to patrol your home’s perimeter? Malware that gets past firewalls can be stopped by antivirus programs.

An antivirus program will secure you from all types of malicious software including spyware, ransomware, Trojans, and so on. Note that it is not impossible for malware to slip past antiviruses sometimes. However, a trusted antivirus will be a valuable tool in your arsenal.

6. Be Cautious Of Web Links

This measure serves to protect you from phishing and drive-by downloads. You need to refrain from clicking on just any link sent to you. Even if it comes from relatives or friends, verify its authenticity before going ahead to click on it.

These links can lead you to harmful websites that can force the installation of malware on your device. Some links can also show you cloned web pages that deceive you to fix your data. Avoid email attachments from unknown individuals because emails are one of the major ways to transmit malware.

Conclusion

The world is heavily relying on technology for lots of processes and that is why we need to protect it. There are numerous internet risks like cyber bullies, phishing, hacking, and ransomware.

You can use a variety of security tools like VPNs, antiviruses, and firewalls for your PC. You can also encrypt your hard disk, update software, and avoid random links.

AUTHOR_NAMEAbout the Author:
Matthew Stern is a technology content strategist at TechFools, a tech blog aiming at informing readers about the potential dangers of technology and introducing them to the best ways to protect themselves online. As a tech enthusiast and an advocate for digital freedom, Matthew is dedicated to introducing his readers to the latest technology trends and teaching them how to gain control over their digital lives.
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