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Main Security Tips

Security Tips

McAfee, a well-known antivirus software company, lists down five vital awareness points for app safety.

Though malware is known to target desktop and personal computers more than mobile devices, it is crucial to understand their existence and prevention methods:

  1. Before installing an app, conduct thorough research on its downloads, usage, reviews, and recommendations history.
  2. Always buy apps from well-known platforms, such as Android Market.
  3. To deter apps from unknown sources, uncheck the ‘Unknown Sources’ option from your device’s settings.
  4. During the app installation process, the subject app requests permissions. If you notice any in-depth permissions for simple apps, avoid installing the app.
  5. Always install an antivirus on your device to prevent malware and cyber attacks.

With an ever-increasing rate of cybersecurity issues due to a rise in smartphones and tablets, particularly for Android, it is vital to have antivirus software for operating systems.

Password Protection

What is the importance of passwords?

You log into multiple accounts daily for social media, jobs, or financial transactions via ATMs, debit cards, credit cards, and online banking. All these activities demand complex and strong passwords, Personal Identification Numbers (PINs), related keys, etc., for deterring hackers.

These cyber attackers target unsuspecting victims and extract seemingly simple personal data like email, phone number, etc., to attack the victim’s major accounts such as social media platforms, bank accounts, and more. An intruder having access to your social security details will have serious repercussions to your privacy, medical data, property data, etc.

Understanding the seriousness of this issue and ensuring access to only authorized people is the basis for protecting your data and physical property. Secondly, a difficult step always ensures proper identity verifications.

The majority of online systems use passwords for identification, which highlights the need for strong and complex passwords. It is important to note that there have been instances of account intrusions due to weak passwords.

How to set a strong password?

Individuals usually setup their passwords with the inclusion of their private data like birth dates and house numbers, mainly because they can be better remembered. This technique directly benefits the hacker, enabling easy intrusion into your accounts. Have you set up your password based on your birth date, social security number, house number, contact information, or English dictionary words? Now imagine how smoothly hackers may guess your login information.

If you use a misspelling instead, it may deter hackers to some extent, however, opt for code phrases and mnemonics that will offer better protection. For instance, choose ‘IwbiCoA30!’ in place of ‘I was born in California on April 30!’. Remember to increase the password strength by including uppercase, lowercase alphabets, numerals, and symbols. Refrain from inserting song lyrics and commonly used phrases.

Always use different passwords for different accounts because if hackers guess one account’s password, they will gain access to all your accounts.

Below are some tips to assist you in setting a good password:

  1. Refrain from including personal data in passwords.
  2. Refrain from using dictionary words.
  3. Setup your password on a coded phrase or mnemonic.
  4. Include uppercase and lowercase alphabets.
  5. Use a mix of alphabets, numerals, and symbols.
  6. Include passphrases.
  7. Setup unique passwords for each account.
What is Password Safety?

After selecting a strong password, it’s crucial to ensure password safety. Avoid placing at commonly frequented places such as desks, taped on and beside laptops, or any other easily accessible space. Never share your passwords with anyone and never respond to password tricksters.

From the authentication processes provided by your Internet Service Provider (ISP), select the systems that have Kerberos, encryption of public key, or challenge/response services.

You may have come across platforms providing a ‘Remember Password’ option. It is important to note that these platforms have different degrees of protection. For instance, email platforms store your login details in a text file on your PC, indirectly opening your account doors to anyone accessing your computer.

It is essential to always log out from all accounts once you are done, particularly on public devices. Such information can be protected by using Apple’s Keychain or Palm’s Secure Desktop.

Though an attacker may still be able to breach into your information, these methods may make it tough for them to do so.

USB Drive Usage

What are USB Drive security issues?

Owing to their size, availability, and affordability, USB drives are one of the most common and famous devices to store and transfer information between computers. These very aspects may also benefit intruders.

Hackers may infect the operating system with a malware code that detects the insertion of a USB drive into the computer and then infects the drive with this malware code. Now, if the USB drive is plugged into another device, it infects the other system also. If not halted, the cycle carries on.

Secondly, a hacker may utilize their USB drives to extract sensitive data from computer systems if they have access to the particular system. Switched off systems may also be attacked since the internal memory remains active for some minutes after shutting down the computer.

If data is not backed up, the loss of USB drive may result in the loss of all stored data, and if it is not protected, attackers may access this parked data.

How to keep data safe?

Follow these steps to ensure the safety of both the USB drive and the respective PC:

Security – Set complex and strong passwords on your USB drive and computer. Ensure a safe and up-to-date back-up.

Drive uses – Setup different USB drives for business and personal use. Refrain from interchangeably using them.

Software Updates – To avoid threats from malware, ransomware, or spyware, regularly update your computer’s antivirus software.

Unknown USB – Avoid using an unknown USB drive on your personal computer for security reasons.

Deactivate Autorun – Autorun disabling will ensure that the USB drive does not automatically open on your computer.

Social Media Safety

What are social media platforms?

Social media platforms or social networking sites offer their users a connectivity platform. Known as “friend-of-friend” sites, these platforms have their origin in the idea of social computing, where individuals in communities are connected via communication.

Purposes for joining social networking platforms may vary, ranging from job prospects, business, education, friendships to romantic relationships.

Different platforms provide different services. Two common aspects include the sharing of selected personal data and communication service – messaging, chat groups, email. Many platforms offer to search for other and self-introduction options.

What are their security risks?

As mentioned above, being on social networks means sharing some personal data and communicating with other users. Individuals usually place unwarranted trust into these sites and provide personal information more than what can be protected, eventually risking their accounts, followed by endangering their sensitive data.

Some users on these platforms may prove to be hackers, predators, and cyber attackers who may further use your data for harmful purposes. These people with malicious intentions may create a fake profile based on your profile information and use it for blackmailing you or your friend circle.

Data such as your present residence, your likes and dislikes, and friends could be misused by attackers for fake profiling and building relationships with your friends or even impersonate your friend to approach you for extracting sensitive data and financial credentials.

Distribution of malicious codes across social media platforms, developments of hazardous safe-looking apps, and computer intrusions may also be carried out by these attackers.

How to maintain safety on these sites?

Only share the necessary personal information and allow others to share limited information about you on your social media platform.

Avoid sharing information you are not comfortable with, including data or images about you. Once posted online, your information, even if deleted, will be stored in caches.

Stay cautious – Strangers and hidden attackers will try to communicate with you in several ways on social media sites. Be on alert and refrain from excessive communication and sharing of any information.

Research – Every piece of information on the web is not to be believed. It is recommended to do proper research and take precautions.

Privacy – Set up and follow the available privacy settings on the site and avoid third-party apps.

Passwords – Use complex and strong passwords.

Antivirus – Regularly update your antivirus software.

The most vulnerable lot on these sites are children, and parents should educate them about the risks and cyber-security.