5 Cyber-Security Tasks for the Non-Tech Person
Technology is constantly changing – new devices, software and cyber threats are continually being introduced. The average technology user does not have the knowledge or the ability to stay current on the latest cyber security needs for their computer, laptop, smartphone or tablet. Many people don’t include all security options available when they set up their device, or fail to update it after the initial setup.
This is a mistake. Hackers are quick to pounce on easy targets such as non-tech people who don’t properly secure their computers, laptops, smartphones and tablets.
If you fully secure your device, hackers are far more likely to move onto an easier target. There are several basic actions you can take today to secure your device like a pro. These things take minimal work but provide secure protection from hackers and cyber criminals.
Five Simple Cyber-Security Tasks to Make Your Computer, Smartphone or Tablet More Secure
- Use a password manager. Passwords are the ‘locks’ protecting your data. Strong passwords are unique to each account, sophisticated and randomized. They can be difficult to remember, however. A password manager stores – and will even create – secure, randomized passwords. They save the password and have plugins that will fill in the password for each separate account. Users only need to remember one password, the ‘Master Password.’ LastPass is one password manager that we recommend and there is a free version available.
- Use data encryption at home. Encryption is the process of your computer converting data into random code so that it’s much more difficult for a hacker to use should he gain access to your device. If a device is encrypted, a hacker is likely to move on to an easier target. Most routers have a ‘setup wizard’ to take you through this process. IMPORTANT NOTE: When encrypting your computer, use WPA2 with AES encryption. Do not use WEP or TKIP. This method is outdated and is no longer secure. AES stands for Advanced Encryption Standard. It is used by the U.S. government and is the global standard in encryption.
- Make sure all of your devices have updated anti-virus and anti-malware software installed. This is essential for cyber-security. Most software is inexpensive or free. A simple Google search for ‘malware protection’ or ‘virus scanner’ give you such options immediately. Properly installed anti-virus software constantly monitors your devices and alerts you if a threat is detected. Check out our blog post about protecting your android device from malware.
- Clean off your computer’s desktop. Having files on the desktop puts you at risk for sending sensitive information to the wrong recipient. Review all the files on your Desktop move them to the appropriate drives and folders. This also frees up RAM (random access memory) and can help your computer to run faster.
- Perform and/or enable regular software updates. Most computer and mobile device operating systems and software applications receive automated updates from the manufacturer. Don’t ignore requests for system updates or software updates – if it’s a legitimate source click yes, even if you need to schedule it for a more convenient time. Many updates are security patches rolled out to help combat the most recent cyber threats. Most devices update automatically or ask if you want the latest updates. Sometimes updates are not automatic, so we recommend proactively checking for updates yourself each week.
- If you have a Windows operating system, there will be a search box either at the bottom toolbar or in Settings. Search for ‘Updates’ and your computer will direct you to a page where you can check for updates.
- Mac software updates can be performed by clicking on the Apple Menu, selecting ‘Updates’ and making sure the the ‘Automatic Updates’ box is selected. There is also a ‘Check Now’ button that enables you to do your own weekly checks.
These essential cyber-security tasks are easy enough for most users to do. If you have questions or need help call the Pros 4 Technology at 920-400-1279 and we’ll help make sure all your devices are secured.