Whether you want to protect your home computer or office network, you likely have personal and sensitive information that you don’t want others to see. While cybersecurity policies have evolved, many business and home computers are still vulnerable.
Today’s cybercriminals attack all types of computer networks looking for information or a way to monetize yours. Even if you have the best security software, you can still make a mistake and click on a link or download an email attachment that leads to the corruption of your system.
Why Computer Security Matters
In your everyday life, you probably avoid sharing any type of personally identifiable information such as your social security number or debit card number. You definitely do not want to enter that information in a text message, unsolicited email, or even speak it over the phone in a public place. However, cybercriminals can infiltrate certain vulnerabilities in your computer system to gain access through financial and medical apps that are prevalent in everyone’s mobile devices and computers.
Basic Needs to Know for Computer Security
Cybersecurity does not boil down to the best antivirus software. You need your own protocols in place, in addition to software, to truly protect yourself. However, there are some basic needs that you can set up to have more control and protect your system.
Computer Security Checklist – This is a course of action that you can take to secure your computer. There is no single sure-fire way to overcome all the threats that can affect your computer.
File Transfer Protocol (FTP) – FTP is a protocol used to transfer files to and from a web server. It is mainly used when admins need to manage files on a server and requires an FTP client application.
Firewalls – A firewall is a barrier configured to keep out unwanted and malicious traffic from a server. It is usually configured between the computer to be protected and the internet connection.
Network Packets – This is a method that is used to transfer data between nodes on a network. Even large files are broken down into fixed-sized chunks. Emails are an excellent example of transferring data through network packets.
Password Management – These are a set of best practices that can be used to create and store passwords in an efficient and secure manner.
Proxy Servers – A proxy server is an intermediate node that intercepts requests from a client to a server. This is usually done for privacy purposes so that the client can remain private. Load balancing and security are some benefits.
Virtual Private Networks – This is a virtual network where a computer that is not physically connected to a network can virtually connect to it using encrypted tunneling protocols. A direct network connection is simulated for security and privacy purposes. High-quality VPNs are one of the best protective measures you can take to keep your online privacy in check.
Terms Used in Computer Security
Need to build your own cybersecurity system? Here are some terms that you need to learn before embarking on your journey.
This is a process of verifying your identity or the identities of your users. Passwords are a form of authentication, but most companies today use multi-factor authentication to prevent unauthorized access. World of Warcraft was one of the first to deal with this issue on a massive scale for gamers.
Important data needs to be secured in your backup server or cloud storage system, but how do you prevent a hacker from getting into those secure areas? You’ll need an extremely secure backup system to keep your data safe.
With codes and ciphers, you can encrypt all the data on your system so that it’s unusable, even if hacked. Encryption requires a computer to use a key to unlock and read the data without encryption. Only users with the correct keys can access the decrypted data.
Types of Computer Security Attacks
Some common ways that hackers may try to get into your system include:
- Breaking your weak password through a cracker or simply guessing
- DDoS attack
Ways to Avoid Computer Security Attacks
Look at Our Basic Needs List Above
If you do not already have these in place, you should check your system now and make some upgrades. Once you have a firewall installed, you may want to consider securing your online activities even further through a proxy server or virtual private network.
Avoid Clicking Links on Pop-Ups and Email Attachments
These are likely phishing attempts. Phishing attacks try to trick you into clicking on a link that typically downloads malware, leading to a security breach. Most cybercriminals use this attack on unsuspecting employees or even contractors who have access to your network. This is why it’s so important to never click on any link from someone you don’t know.
Email authentication technology, spam prevention, and anti-malware or antivirus software with firewalls can prevent these attacks.
Create Strong Passwords and Use Two-Factor Authentication
Whenever you sign up for a site, you should check to see if they have two-factor authentication. This is a secondary step on top of choosing a strong password by requiring you to type in a verified code that is either emailed or sent in a text message.
Back Up Your Files and Security Systems
Do you have a process in place for what to do if your computer system totally went down? How would you get back into your files? You should look at backups for your computer that save important information and help you reboot even if your computer is wiped. Most cybercriminals target critical data, so it’s best to lock files and secure them in a backup in case of a malware attack.
Learn More About Different Cyber Attack Vectors
What does malware look like? How will you recognize a trojan? What do virus-laden email attachments look like? Typically, anything that you see downloading to your computer without you expressly clicking and asking it to install is probably an attack vector, such as malware, virus, or some other cyber attack.
If you have a firewall installed, such as Microsoft Defender, then it will likely recognize the threat immediately, especially if you accidentally clicked on something in a pop-up. In other cases, you may notice a weird program in your task manager that is constantly running. Dell created a video with some of the ways to check for a virus, but you can also check out Emisoft’s guide to checking for viruses.
Control and Monitor Activity
There may be a few people accessing your computer and networks. You should monitor any access provided to ensure that network traffic is not directed to any malicious sites. Some network administrators will disable software downloads and require permission to use certain computers or networks to prevent a breach.
Wrapping Up: Stay Safe Online
Whenever you use the internet to access different websites, you should make sure that they have SSL protection or “https.” If it’s your home computer causing problems, then you should immediately look at a trusted antivirus such as Microsoft Defender or Norton antivirus. For businesses, your system probably needs a more complex solution. You can look at NIST and Cybrary for more resources.